A ceremony for the groundbreaking of the Sialkot Tannery Zone project was held at village Khambraanwala with especial participation of Punjab Secretary Environment Iqbal Muhammad.

The ceremony was also attended among others by SCCI President Fazal Jillani, SVP Mir Alamgir, VC Malik Naseer Ahmed, Sialkot Dry Port Trust Chairman Muhammad Ishaq, Sialkot Tannery Zone Chairman Muhammad Haneef Khan, Chief Executive  Sheikh Naveed Iqbal, Sialkot International Airport Limited Chairman Sheikh Muhammad Yaqub, Project Director Muhammad Atif, DCO Nadeem Sarwar and officials of different departments.

On the occasion, the provincial secretary said that the project had been fast-tracked by removing hurdles from the way of smooth provision basic facilities there. He hoped the step would be helpful in early shifting of the tanneries scattered in and around the Sialkot city.

He added that the government was making efforts to ensure maximum protection of environment. He said that every citizen was the responsible for making steps for pollution-free environment.

He reviewed the progress of project, saying that early completion of the project would be helpful in controlling the environmental pollution caused by the tanneries. The Punjab government was establishing Sialkot Tannery Zone on 400 acres of land near Sialkot, where total 554 plots of different sizes had yet been allotted. The project started in 2009 for shifting all the 264 small, medium and big tanneries from Sialkot city to save the Sialkot city from environmental pollution.

It has taken a period of five consecutive years for the construction of road infrastructure in the zone till end of 2015.

The project director said that the project was the first ever of its kind in Pakistan being established on more than 400 acres of land near village Khambraanwala where the tanneries would be shifted. The chief executive said that funds paucity had also been a major hurdle behind inordinate delay in the completion of the project. He asked the allottees to ensure early payments of their arrears. Work at the project started in 2009. Now, only the construction of link roads has so far been started.