Industrialists in Hub, Balochistan, are urging both the provincial and federal governments to address critical issues affecting the Hub Industrial and Trading Estate (HITE). The industrialists emphasise the need for consistent gas supply with proper pressure, improved road connectivity between Karachi and Hub, and the urgent rehabilitation of the deteriorating infrastructure in the organised industrial zone.
Expressing their concerns, the industrialists highlight the neglect of a major bridge connecting Sindh and Balochistan for the past one and a half years. They contend that the rehabilitation, which could be completed within four months, has been delayed unnecessarily, causing disruptions in transportation and hindering economic activities.
One of the prominent figures in the industrial community and President of the Lasbela Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Ismail Suttar, stresses the importance of addressing these issues. He underscored the need for proper gas supply, highlighting that new gas connections are not being provided, and industrialists are being directed to opt for Regasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG) connections at a higher cost. According to Suttar, RLNG costs Rs3,950 per mmBtu (million British thermal units), while regular gas connections cost Rs1,350 per mmBtu. He lamented that Balochistan produces approximately 18% to 20% natural gas but only 6% is provided to the province for consumption. Suttar called for the implementation of Article 158 of the Constitution, which aims to ensure the fair distribution of gas resources and benefit the local population.
HITE, spanning 1,300 acres and housing around 200 national and multinational industries, faces numerous challenges, including energy shortages and utility problems. The industrialists argue that the step-motherly attitude towards Hub City has resulted in energy crises, hindering both industrialists and local residents.
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Maqsood Ismail, another leading industrialist in Hub, highlighted the acute shortage of water in the region. He pointed out that despite the presence of ample water in Hub Dam, issues such as water theft and evaporation persist due to the lack of a proper water supply channel. Ismail urged the government to lay water pipelines to supply water to Hub City and the HITE, aiming to eliminate reliance on water tankers and reduce water-related challenges.
The industrialists believe that addressing these fundamental issues will unlock the tremendous potential of the HITE to accommodate more industries and create new opportunities for industrialists in the country. They underscore the need for the government to allocate funds for the rehabilitation of HITE, emphasising the positive impact it can have on the region’s prosperity and job creation.
Despite these challenges, the industrialists express gratitude for the peaceful law and order situation in the region, highlighting the potential for setting up more industries in Hub. The LCCI, representing the business community of the district, plays a pivotal role in advocating for the resolution of these longstanding issues and fostering economic growth in Balochistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 7th, 2024.
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