The community of businessmen and traders of Karachi has demanded that a relief package for the city should be allocated. Due to the recent spell of monsoon since July 1, Karachi has suffered significant loss.
According to Zubair Motiwala, Chairman of Businessmen Group (BMG), “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 the national exchequer, and 95 percent to total provincial taxes and levies is in a state of a total mess”.
He further said that the recent average rainfall in July 2022 was (85.5mm) which was not more than the rain recorded in Kolkata (411mm) and Mumbai (800). The only difference between them was that Karachi had to face more devastation than the two Indian cities.
Zubair Motiwala also raised a question about the performance of provincial and federal governments. He asked the respective governments to let the community know how much time it will take to restore the infrastructure of the mega city completely. He further raised questions about the future steps to be taken to prevent such incidents in the future.
“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.”
Chairman BMG further said that the business community of Karachi should also be taken into consideration while drafting solutions for the city.
Zubair Motiwala requested the government to declare Karachi as a calamity-hit area. He also demanded them announce a grand relief package that would compensate businessmen and people of the city from the losses they have endured because of rain devastation.
“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.”
President of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Muhammad Idrees on the occasion also said that KCCI has received piles of complaints from business persons asking how the situation in Karachi can improve. They also asked them about what are the steps taken by the government to ensure their basic issues are addressed.
He further said that K-Electric has made the lives of Karachites miserable and with a single drop of rainfall, their feeders start to trip.
The federal and Sindh government have always been involved in the blame game for years now. While both the federal and Sindh government have only 30% of the city to manage, the rest of 70% falls in the domain of cantonment boards. Thus, “akin to having a state within a state and the city remains mismanaged due to overlapping authority and unclear scope of work.”
He further said that the Karachites will go for city-wide protest if their problems are not taken seriously and promptly. “The government is not visible and the city has come to a standstill after the recent spell of rains.”
Abdul Rasheed, President of SITE Association said that the infrastructure of the city is in a dire state. The recent heavy rainfall has added insult to injury to the people. “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.”
President of North Karachi Association of Trade and Industry, Faisal Moiz Khan, on the occasion added that the production has affected due to urban flooding and intense rainfall.
SITE Super Highway President, Amir Hasan Lari, also spoke on the occasion citing the numerous issues faced by people residing in Karachi, including unavailability of decent infrastructure to commute, petrol at stations, and electricity at offices, homes, and shops.
He added, “People are facing a shortage of water, gas, and other amenities”. President Landhi Association of Trade and Industry, Nisar Palla asked federal and Sindh governments to take action so that all vital and basic infrastructure and amenities are ensured. These are very important for the economic progression of the country in the right direction.