Crime wave blights Korangi tanners

24 January 2012

According to local media reports the Korangi Industrial Area (KIA) near Karachi is besieged by a set of mounting troubles for both workers and manufacturers, which is causing swift closure of many industrial units in the area. From a weakening law and order situation to the lack of energy, the KIA is set with a number of problems with almost no help from the government say local reports.

I am seeing another bad example of the ruining of businesses as has happened earlier in Faisalabad,’ said an owner of a small factory in the area, who wished not to be named.
The KIA has turned into a safe heaven for criminals, who are on a looting spree in the area. Over recent months, robbers on vehicles such as pick-ups are ransacking valuables such as bundles of finished leather and garments during the night. Incidents of mobile phone robberies in daylight hours are also common.
In addition to the worsening law and order situation in the area, the recurring power losses and high cost of raw materials have also hit the industries badly, forcing many factory owners to shut down their businesses or shift to more secure parts of the country.
According to a survey conducted by The News, about 50% of industrial units in the KIA have succumbed to the worsening crises which have hit workers the hardest.
For instance, in one factory, 400 out of 1,000 workers have been fired. But apart from the job losses, workers are also reluctant to work in the area, as they do not feel secure.
The number of regular workers attending some tanneries such as the VIP Tannery, Nawan Tannery, Anwer Tannery and others has been seriously affected due to the spike in crime rates, which has dealt a severe blow to productivity in the area.

The poorer local residents of nearby ‘Bilal Colony’ are also a target for outlaws who loot local people even at gunpoint. Locals are mostly workers and labourers.
The poorer workers and residents of the KIA and nearby localities are unable to enjoy their evenings outside from their houses and factories due the fear of mobile phone thieves and other crime.
Secretary of the All Pakistan Leather Workers’ Union Amjad Awan expressed deep concern over the situation and demanded that the government to take immediate steps to protect the rights of workers in the KIA.
The closure of dozens of small factories has already affected cottage industries negatively in the area. Some observers allege that in some cases jobless workers have become a part of criminal groups.
Local sources say that the main reasons for the closure of more than 100 factories in the Korangi district is due to high electricity prices, increased prices of petroleum products, increased prices of raw materials and less financial assistance on the part of the government. This has led to increased crime in the area.

Source: The News, Pakistan

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