KARACHI, Aug 17: While experiencing the production loss of night shift because of very thin labour presence, industrialists forecast a bleak picture of both domestic and export related production in case rain and thunderstorms combine to play havoc on Friday and Saturday.

They say in case rains hit the city on Friday and Saturday with same intensity there is unlikely that workers will be able to reach their respective industries, as rains and thunderstorms have inflicted another severe blow on the already pathetic road infrastructure on Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon.

In many industrial areas more than 50 per cent labour and workforce are on daily wages, piece basis and many of them are contract employees hired through contractors. In case rains hit the city on Friday and Saturday they will feel the real pinch.

“When workers will not turn up how the wheel of industries will rotate,” the industrialists said, adding that export-oriented industries might suffer most in case their shipments were delayed for one or two days which would result in expiry of contracts with foreign buyers.

They also fear shutdown of power that will further jeopardise domestic and export related units’ productions which the industries had suffered in the first week of August. KESC had shut down the supply in many industrial areas soon after downpour started at 5.30pm on Thursday, they added.

Many industrialists, contacted by Dawn, were either on their way to homes or were stuck up in massive traffic jams, after leaving their premises. Think of the ordeal of the workers who relied on public transport and two wheelers.

Korangi Association of Trade and Industry chairman Gulzar Feroz said night shifts had been completely affected as workers could not turn up owing to rains and thunderstorm on Thursday.

All the roads leading to the Korangi industrial area remained blocked. He said exporters would suffer millions of rupees losses for the next two to three days because of Thursday’s rains and the situation would be more alarming in case more rains hit the city in the next two to three days. Exporters cannot take risk of sending shipment through containers to ports owing to poor road conditions. Mr Gulzar said industrialists might hold their local production in case workers failed to reach factories.

Korangi has 2,000-2,500 industries which employ over 200,000 people in which 30 to 40 per cent people work on daily wages who suffer most when domestic and foreign shipment production is suspended. Besides labour presence, much depends on frequent power supply in coming days, he adds.

Site Association of Industry chairman Ameen Bandukda said Thursday’s night shifts could not be managed in majority of industries owing to absence of workers because of rains. Rain water has also found its way into many factories.

“I fear most about the power supply which remained suspended because of Thursday’s rains,” he said, adding that industrialists had endeavoured hard in restoring 90 per cent power in the area last week. The current and future rains may create big problem again for KESC which will only resort to suspending power supplies.

In case rains hit Friday morning, the area would suffer massive production losses, as workers would not come owing to bad road networks, traffic jams and thin public and private transport, Mr Ameen said.

Site has over 3,000 units that have 550,000-600,000 workers and staffers. Out of which 300,000-350,000 are on daily wages.

Site Association of Industry ex-chairman Majyd Aziz is worried about KESC’s action replay of suspending power supplies in rainy seasons that may further hit local production. He said exporters would suffer huge losses in case rains continued on Friday and Saturday. “I really see tough days ahead for industries in case rains prolong for a few more days,” Mr Majyd said, adding that road networks in the Site were in bad shape and the power supply was uncertain.

Idris Gigi, executive committee member of the F.B. Area Association of Trade and Industry, said the production in almost all industries came to a grinding halt after 5.30pm on Thursday when KESC suspended power supply because of rains coupled with exit of workers. Besides, night shift production was completely suspended and rain waters entered many factories. He feared exporters would face delay in their shipments.

The F.B. industrial area comprises of 2,500 units in which 90 per cent are export-oriented units. Some 200,000-250,000 people are engaged in industrial units in which 50 per cent are on daily wages, piece basis and some are employed on contractual basis.

North Karachi Association of Trade and Industry chairman Dawood Usman Jhakoora said night shift production was completely suspended because of very thin presence of workers. Besides, KESC suspended the supply in the area at 5.30pm. Even the area had been continuously witnessing the hide-and-seek of power for the last 20 days.

There will be virtually no production on Friday in case of more rains.

The area comprises mostly of 2,500 small and medium units that care of jobs for 125,000 people in which 60 per cent are on daily wages, he said.

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