SIALKOT - The development work on Institute for Surgical Technology (IST) and revamping of Metal Industry Development Centre Sialkot (MIDC), costing Rs418 million, is in full swing and both the projects would be operational next year. The two story building of institute had already been completed.

The basic concept of the establishment of institute is to produce trained and skilled workforce for catering needs of the surgical industry while revamping of MIDC is to provide modern common facility, adversary service and transfer of technology to the small businessmen engaged with the surgical industry in Sialkot. The proposed courses for institute of Surgical Technology are machinist specialization in surgical, industrial electronics, fitter general (die maker), and draftsman. Metal testing and heat treatment and forging and press work etc.

Official sources told TheNation on Monday that the Surgical Institute would be completed at a cost of Rs195 million while revamping of MIDC would be accomplished at a cost of Rs223 million. The Punjab government has taken the step to address the problems being confronted by the surgical instrument manufacturers and modernization surgical industry aimed at tracking it on modern production lines sources said.

It may be added that MIDC was established during 1942-43 after World War-11 on the directive Queen Victoria in the recognition of skill and craftsmanship of local artisans and for the promotion of small makers and businessmen engaged with surgical industry.

The purpose of MIDC in Sialkot was providing modern facilities, technology and adversary services the businessmen makers. The management and workers of MIDC had played a pivotal role in the promotion of Surgical industry as a result of the surgical industry was recognized in international market. The modern machinery was added in MIDC with help of Germany (1980-83), Punjab government 1984-85 and Dutch aid programme in 1987-88 for strengthening and for making it a useful organization.

The export of surgical instruments was US 250 million dollars against the quantity of about 100 million instruments per annum. The industry is also manufacturing disposable instruments, which constitutes 60 percent of exports and reusable instruments that is 40 percent of the exports. The surgical industry represents manufacturers and exporters of surgical instruments, dental instruments, veterinary, pedicure and manicure items, tailor scissors, barber scissors and beauty saloon instruments.

There are about 1200 small and medium surgical units functioning in and close to Sialkot with labour force of 60,000 workers. The Pakistani surgical instruments are most economical in the world coupled with unconditional guarantee of finest quality and the surgical manufacturers and exporters were making strenuous efforts for improving the marketing and exploring new venues especially non-traditional markets aimed at enhancing surgical instruments exports to double the export.

Meanwhile, the Chairman Surgical Instrument Manufacturers Association of Pakistan (SIMAP) Jehangir Bajwa has underscored the need of early completion of both Surgical Institute and MIDC projects to facilitate the local business community. The regular functioning of both the projects he said would pave the way for modernization of surgical industry and produce trained and skilled industrial workforce adding that currently the industrial sector was facing acute shortage skilled industrial workers.

Jehangir Bajwa further stated that over 95 percent surgical instrument producers in Pakistan have international certification and had adopted good manufacturing practices while manufacturing arrangements were supervised by highly skilled craftsmen and professionals resultantly several internationally reputed brands had joint ventures in Pakistan.

The SIMAP is playing a pivotal role in capacity building and modernization of surgical industry with the help of Engineering Development Board (EDB) and Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) while SIMAP had upgraded manufacturing standards of industry and also focusing on bringing new technologies he revealed. Bajwa wowed that all resources would be mobilized for enhancing the volume of surgical instruments and further improving the quality of surgical instruments with the active support of the manufacturers.