Wednesday March 29, 2023

Businessmen demand relief package for rain-hit Karachi

By Our Correspondent
July 14, 2022

KARACHI: Traders and business community of Karachi on Wednesday called for declaring the city calamity-hit and sought relief package for people and businessmen who have suffered losses caused by a heavy spell of monsoon rains.

“Even after 75 years of the country’s independence, the largest industrial hub and commercial capital that contributes up to 54 percent to country’s total exports, 65 percent to national exchequer, and 95 percent to total provincial taxes and levies is in a state of total mess,” said chairman Businessmen Group (BMG) Zubair Motiwala.

He added that average rainfall recorded in Karachi in July 2022 (85.5mm) was much lesser than the rain recorded in Mumbai (800) and Kolkata (411mm), but devastation was higher by manifolds, he lamented.

BMG chairman asked both federal and provincial governments to explain how long it would take to complete restoration of debilitated infrastructure of Karachi. He also inquired about medium and long term measures to cater to rains in days to come.

“Despite Karachi package of Rs1.1 trillion was announced to revive the city and manage disasters, progress on the package is not visible in the city at all, and requires an audit of where the fund was spent.”

The city’s business community should be taken on board on issues pertaining to Karachi for a sustainable solution of never ending miseries of Karachities, he added.

Motiwala appealed to declare Karachi as a calamity-hit area and demanded a major relief package for people and businessmen who have suffered intense losses due to devastations caused by heavy spell of monsoon rains in the city.

“The billing dates of K-Electric and SSGC can be extended to provide some respite to the Karachiites. Tax relief should be announced on provincial taxes to compensate for immense losses due to rain disaster.”

Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) president Muhammad Idrees said the business-related people had stormed KCCI with piles of complaints asking when the situation of Karachi would get any better, and what govt was doing to resolve their basic issues.

He added that K-Electric add to difficulties of people in the city as over a hundred feeders of electricity supply tripped after the rain.

The issues of Karachi remain unresolved as the provincial and federal government resort to blame game. The provincial and federal manage only 30 percent of the city, while the remaining 70 percent is under control of cantonment boards, which is “akin to having a state within a state and the city remains mismanaged due to overlapping authority and unclear scope of work.”

He was of the view that people would be compelled to opt for city wide demonstrations if their problems were not addressed promptly.

“The government is not visible and the city has come to a standstill after the recent spell of rains.”

SITE Association president Abdul Rasheed stated that the city’s infrastructure was already in tatter, which has been further destroyed by Monsoon rains. “This situation due to urban flooding has severely impacted the businesses and industries as they are finding it impossible to function and keep their businesses operational.”

Faisal Moiz Khan, president North Karachi Association of Trade and Industry, said intense rainfall and urban flooding had retarded their production.

Amir Hasan Lari, president SITE Super Highway, lamented that people suffered with host of issues such as no petrol at stations, no electricity at homes, shops and offices, and no decent infrastructure to commute.

“People are facing shortage of water, gas, and other amenities,” he said.

Landhi Association of Trade and Industry president Nisar Palla appealed the government to ensure all basic amenities and infrastructure, saying they were vital

for sustainable economic growth in the country.