KARACHI: As the industries had not given any green signal to join the countrywide strike call given by the Jamaat-i-Islami, the overall industrial activities showed a mixed trend due to the low turnout of workers.

Industries had already remained shut on Friday on account of Shah Abdul Latif Urs while traders had kept their shops closed on the same day to protest against the inflated power bills and soaring petrol and diesel rates.

Site Association of Industry (SAI) President Riazuddin said that around 50 per cent out of 2,700 units remained operative on Saturday as a result of some disturbance at Ghani Chowrangi and its surrounding areas which could not allow workers to mark their attendance at the respective units.

He said workers residing in nearby areas of the industries turned up while the attendance of those who come from remote areas remained thin.

Daily-wage earners faced brunt of two-day market closure

He said the industries were already operating below capacity due to thin demand for goods besides taking cost-cutting measures to lessen the impact of the high cost of production on account of surging power and gas bills.

Haroon Shamsi, former Chairman of F.B. Area Association of Trade and Industry (FBATI) said that shops and malls remained shut but the industrial output shrank by 15-20pc in the 1,800 units as a result of low workers’ turnout.

He said industries would consider taking part in the upcoming strike call as running units amid inflated power bills and unprecedented inflation has become very difficult and rendered thousands jobless.

He expressed surprise over caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar’s statement that high power bills are a non-issue. “It is a very serious issue and the industrial community’s survival is directly linked with the cost of production,” he added.

North Karachi Association of Trade and Industry (NKATI) President Faisal Moiz Khan said around 60pc industries out of 8,000 small to large-scale units were open.

He said the industries do not support any political party to close down their units. “We will only close down the entire industries after a unanimous decision to be taken by all seven industrial associations,” he added.

President Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI), Faraz ur Rahman said industrial operations remained normal on Saturday as all the industries were open and there was no law and order issue.

Trade loss

All Karachi Tajir Itehad (AKTI) Atiq Mir estimated over Rs10 billion trade loss on account of the closure of retail shops/malls and wholesale markets from Friday to Saturday as a result of protest against rising petrol and diesel prices and unbearable electricity bills.

He said that the two-day market closure by the trade bodies had badly affected over four million daily-wage workers in the city.

Deploring the alarming situation, he said that families were selling their gold jewellery, household items and borrowing money to pay the unjestified massive K-Electric bills.

Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2023

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