KARACHI: Industrialists are calling upon the Sindh government to partially allow general industries to resume their operations.
Food and pharma are already exempted from the ongoing lockdown and now the trade bodies are urging the government to include more items on that list.
In a meeting with city and provincial authorities today, they presented a list of 125 units that should be allowed to restart operations. Last week, the same group had pointed out 75 units.
Traders also reiterated the same demand saying that continuous closure of markets and shops risks creating chaos.
A delegation of industrial bodies met chief secretary Sindh, secretary industries and commissioner Karachi to convince them for opening industries so that salaries of workers could be cleared and supply chains could restart in case markets are partially opened.
Korangi Association of Trade and Industry President Sheikh Umer Rehan said industrialists have demanded from the provincial government for allowing partial operations of all the units.
He said industries have asked the Sindh government to make new standard operating procedures (SoP) and safety measures for allowing labour and staffers to work in the industries. “We have agreed to new SoPs,” he added.
He said the chief secretary had hinted that the government may consider allowing only the units which have their own labour colonies.
Site Association of Industry Chairman Suleman Chawla said industries have also called upon the Sindh government to exempt packaging units of various products, including food and medicines.
However, Council of Textile Association Zubair Motiwala said Secretary Industries is still been engaged with industrialists to work out a plan under which units with labour colonies may be allowed to operate after working out new SoPs and precautionary measures.
On the other hand, traders’ groups had also been pressing the provincial government to allow opening of shops and markets.
All City Traders Association General Secretary Ahmed Shamsi said the Sindh government should hold a dialogue with traders so they could resume their business after adopting safety measures.
He said if full market opening is not possible, then the government should consider fixing the timing for opening and closure of markets so daily wagers and staffers could earn their livelihood.
According to Karachi Electronic Dealers Association President Mohammad Irfan Rizwan, commissioner Karachi informed his delegation on Wednesday that the lockdown in Karachi would be effective till April 6. But yesterday that date was extended to April 14.
Sindh Traders Alliance Chairman Jamil Ahmed Paracha had urged the Sindh CM to allow opening of shops as problems of shopkeepers and workers are intensifying due to lockdown. He said the owners are not in a position to pay salaries amid zero sales.
Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2020