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Karachi strike hits business activities

Published Dec 27, 2012 01:56am

A labourer is silhouetted as he sits in front of closed shops in a market in Karachi. – AFP

KARACHI, Dec 26: Heavy productivity losses were suffered by the industrial sector due to the strike called by a religious party on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, some markets and retail outlets resumed their business activities after 4pm.

Absence of labour caused by non-plying of public transport was one of the prime reasons of low productivity while good transporters carriers also remained off the roads.

Senior vice chairman Site Association of Industry Nasim Anwar said that ‘90 per cent of the units out of total 2,700 units remained completely shut’.

Also some people entered the area with arms forcing industrialists to close down their units, he alleged.

“Some units, however, remained operative as some workers living nearby areas turned up but they failed to reach optimum productivity due to non availability of majority of workers. Most of the banks were also closed due to panic in the area,” he informed.

Up country and foreign shipments, processing of shipping documents, local supplies, procurement of raw material from the port, etc also came to a standstill.

“Already we are struggling for survival due to acute gas shortage. The current week is full of holidays starting with December 25 followed by closure on December 26 due to strike and two provincial holidays on December 27 and 28,” he said while terming the entire month a total disaster for industries and export.

Chairman Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI) Zubair Chahya said due to 30 per cent attendance, around 90 per cent of the industrial units out of 3,000 units decided to shut their units after 3 pm whose repercussions in terms of productivity and export loss ran into billions of rupees.

Chairman All Karachi Tajir Itehad Atiq Mir estimated a trade loss of almost two billion rupees due to closure of business activities till 4 pm.

He said that out of 550 markets in the city, most of them mainly wholesale markets, did not open throughout the day while some big retail markets opened for business in the evening after a meeting with one of the religious party chiefs.

He said shops will be opened on December 27 and 28 to recover the losses as he counted only 10 full working days in the current month while the business activities was marred by closure of many markets due to strike calls and violence.

Chairman North Karachi Association of Trade and Industry (NKATI) Syed Iqtida Ali said that over 70 per cent units out of 2,200 kept their business closed. Some workers living nearby areas arrived in the operating units but production registered only at 20-25 per cent.

Chairman FB Area Association of Trade and Industry Haroon Shamsi said that 2,000 units were open in the area but could only record 30 per cent production.

Patron in Chief Bin Qasim Association of Trade and Industry (BQATI) Mian Muhammad Ahmed claimed that 70 per cent units out of 235 units situated between Quadabad and Port Qasim had to close down as workers and staffers failed to reach due to law and order situation at Malir 15 and its adjacent areas.