ABAD’ Boycott Steel to DHA Sewage Treatment Plant; Infocus Weekly Briefs

by M. Wasim

12 February 2023

ABAD calls to temporarily boycott Steel Purchase

As the prices of steel pushes up to unprecedented levels of Rs. 303,500 per ton this week, the Association of Builders and Developers of Pakistan (ABAD) has expressed their strong resentment and suspended the purchase of steel bars for seven days.  ABAD’ Chairman Altaf Tai said no steel bars would be unloaded at the construction sites of the association`s members from this week and the members would review the situation next week to decide the future course of action. Mr Tai said the cost of good quality construction has soared to Rs 7,000 per sq ft from Rs4,500 one and half years back due to the main role of steel bars and cement prices.

Steel manufacturers have persistently been jacking up the rates citing costly scrap on world markets and a shortage of raw materials in the local market. The Chairman said manufacturers of steel bars are making windfall profit in absence of any regulatory check by the government. He also opined as per the current iron and steel scrap rate of $470 per ton including taxes and duties on imports and @ Rs270 per US Dollar, the steel bar rate should not cross Rs 250,000 per ton. Besides, he claimed there is another option to bring finished steel bars from Iran in just 10 days under barter trade which would cost Rs 225,000-230,000 per ton.

DHA Sewage Treatment at SeaView

While hearing a petition by the World Wide Fund for Nature and some other NGOs, filed in 2017 against dumping of sewage and industrial waste into the sea, the Cantonment Board Clifton has informed the Sindh High Court that a sewage treatment plant (STP) has been installed at Seaview to treat the wastewater before discharge into the sea. The petitioners had informed the SHC that the sea was being polluted by the sewage at Seaview near the Chunky Monkey amusement park and a fast food outlet. The bench headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi directed the officials of the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency to be in attendance on Feb 27 to assistant the court on the subject issue.

The CBC in its report stated that the Defence Housing Authority had constructed a sewage treatment plant (Kublai Khan STP) at Abdul Sattar Edhi Avenue in April 2021 and the sump pump operating at the same place releasing untreated water into the sea had been pulled down. It maintained that the capacity of the STP was two million gallon per day (MGD) and the current flow into the plant was 0.40 MGD. In order to utilise its maximum capacity, the CBC was going to complete a sewerage line by March 31 connecting Sewerage Pumping Station (SPS-I Saba Cross, Muhafiz) and SPS-2 (26th Cross Muhafiz) Phase-VI with SPS-8, Phase-V, which would release sewage having flow of 1.50 MGD in the STP and ultimately the sea would take treated sewage of these pumping stations. However, the CBC conceded that it had outsourced the sanitation mechanism through conservancy contractors, but the system could not give desired results and now the board was itself providing such services and also upgraded its existing capacity by procuring new machinery.

Meeting of Housing & Works Committee

The 24th meeting of the Standing Committee on Housing and Works of the National Assembly held this week under the Chairmanship of MNA Muhammad Junaid Anwar Chaudhary. The Committee requested the Federal Government Employees Housing Authority (FGEHA)’s Director General (DG) to address the issue related to the allotment of plots, flats, and apartments. The Director General of the FGEHA briefed the Committee on the current status of the different projects and explained the steps taken to resolve all the issues relating to ongoing projects for timely provision of plots/flats/apartments to the actual allottees.

The Director General, Estate Office, briefed the Committee about the General Waiting List and the category wise details of allotments of all houses of Sectors G-9 & G-10 Islamabad. The Estate Office apprised that the employees of CDA are not eligible to get accommodation from the pool of Estate Office as CDA is maintaining its own pool of accommodation for its employees. While the MD, Pakistan Housing Authority (PHA) Foundation and MD, National Construction Limited (NCL) Islamabad, briefed in detail on the working functioning of PHAF and NCL. The officials also informed the Committee on the progress of ongoing projects in Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Opposition against Cement Factory in Baluchistan

People of Baluchistan have come against the allotment of around 45,000 acres of land for a cement factory in the vicinity of Hub. As in a grand Jirga meeting consisting of political leaders, tribal elders, elected representatives of local councils, growers and the people of Balochistan`s Gwadar, Lasbela and Hub districts, the participants  declared that they would not allow leasing out of the “land of their ancestors” to anyone. Speakers said that in the past, 75,000 acres of land had been allotted to a powerful institution along the coastal highway, but with the cooperation of people, they succeeded in getting that allotment cancelled. They also vowed not allow the people`s lands to be used by Arab rulers for hunting purposes when an attempt had been made to take over land in Sakran in the name of a special economic zone.

It needs to mention that last year Thatta Cement Company had applied for allotment of land at two places for their cement factories, which has been processed according to the rules and approved. The demarcation of the proposed land covering an area in two blocks measuring Block-A 36.67sq-km (9,061.02 acres) and Block-B 42.360sq-lcm (10,400.395 acres) near Bhawani Dhora in district Lasbela, has been completed and exploration licence (EL-225) for limestone, shale/clay and cement manufacturing material has been issued. The other site, where demarcation of land has also been completed in favour of the same company, covers an area of 143.50sq-km (3,461.8 acres) in district Lasbela. However, opposing these allotments, speakers of the Jirga said the authorities concerned have not consulted the local people and conducted no public hearing to ask the people their will.

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