Turning industrial area into housing society
CIVIC bodes are meant to promote welfare of the people but there are numerous instances when they behaved purely as commercial entities or tools in the hands of some vested interests. This is once again happening in the case of Lahore Development Authority (LDA), which has made known its plans to convert KK Industrial Estate into a residential colony for reasons best known to its bosses.
The issue has sparked protests and thousands of people including likely to be affected industrialists and workers, blocked main Ferozepur Road, burnt tyres and chanted slogans against the Government for granting permission to LDA to undertake such a nefarious plan. This reminds one of the summary moved by CDA to dismantle National Agriculture Research Centre (NARC) in the Federal Capital to pave the way for establishment of a housing society. The issue was agitated by all segments of the society including the Parliament and ultimately the authorities concerned were forced to change their programme. One fails to understand how and why a Government that claims to be industry-friendly can make such a decision? The episode comes at a time when both industrial production and exports have fallen dangerously despite provision of uninterrupted electricity and gas and grant of GSP Plus status to Pakistan by the European Union. Apart from providing concessions and relief to the industry, efforts should also be made to revive the sick units but here the government seems to be instrumental in uprooting already established industries. If there are problems with the KK Industrial Estate, these should be resolved in consultation with stakeholders but the solution to wind up the estate altogether is devoid of sanity. Unfortunately, land mafia has become very powerful in the country and government departments and officials often become tool in its hands inflicting harm to other spheres of life. We would urge Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif to personally look into the issue and prevent any possible progress on this ill-conceived idea.