LAHORE                  -                   The export-oriented industry of apparel has rejected the excessive billing by the Lahore Water and Sanitation Agency, as the higher energy cost along with increasing water cost will have disastrous impact on export, triggering a crisis in the textile sector.

Moreover, the Punjab government should immediately stop the officials of Environment Department from unduly harassing the businessmen by repeatedly visiting their business premises.

These views were expressed by the Sunder Industrial Estate’s Garment City Director Adeeb Iqbal while addressing a meeting of industrial representatives who gathered here to raise voice against the atrocities of WASA and Punjab Environment Department.

Adeeb Iqbal, who is also EC Member of the PRGMEA said that it was very unfortunate that some provincial departments were visiting the industrial units and thus putting a reverse gear to all government efforts aimed at expediting economic activities in this part of the country.

He said that aquifer charges of Rs100,000/month for 1 Cusec for Industries extracting water through tube wells is on the higher side and should be rationalized.

He urged the Lahore Water and Sanitation Agency and Lahore Development Authority, to review its decision for fixing water charges on monthly basis for industrial sector.

Adeeb Iqbal said that LDA’s Water and Sanitation Agency had fixed Rs 100,000 per month and Rs 50,000 per month respectively for installation of tube-well sized one cusic and half cusic for industrial, commercial, non-residential and corporate bodies, while 10 percent surcharge is also being imposed in case of late payment.

He said that at a time when trade and industry is in deep trouble due to high input cost, falling competitiveness in the international market and various other challenges, formula of fixation of water charges will bring more challenges for the industrial sector.

Garment City Director said that there was a time when a businessman calculated return on investment keeping in view the cost of doing business but in the present scenario, they could not plan for future. He hoped that Lahore Water and Sanitation Agency would review its decision of fixing water charges in the larger interest of the industry.

He said that the garment industry, being one of the stakeholders, wants to give some valuable suggestions for the preparation of a sustainable roadmap for restoration of natural ecology of the provincial capital. He said that there was no second opinion about it that the pollution is one of the issues that needs to be tackled on urgent basis but at the same time it is also absolutely necessary that all the industries should be taken onboard for initiating an action by the Environment Department.

He urged the government  to issue directions to the Environment Department to discontinue the steps of harassment against the industry without due consultation and immediately convene a meeting so that the future line of action could be evolved.

When these units will be forced to stop their operations, the hundreds and thousands workers attached with these industrial units would definitely take to the streets, he warned.