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CDA mulls shifting industrial zone

ISLAMABAD - In a move, which could irk the business community of capital city, the CDA is mulling to shift the industrial zone outside the capital city.
The purpose behind this move is said to provide the residents of capital city with clean atmosphere. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab on Tuesday informed the National Assembly that Capital Development Authority (CDA) has decided to shift the industrial areas from sector I-9 to a new zone.
The minister argued that the industries were set up in I-9 sector at a time when there was no population in the area. But now, he said, the population has increased there so, the authority has decided to shift the industries from sector I-9 to somewhere else just to keep the environment safe from pollution caused by the industrial plants installed there. He said that industrial area would be set up at new sector that will be far away from the population. The minister told that CDA is planning to shift the industries in that area where population could not increase by 50-60 years. The minister’s remarks have caught the business community of capital city by surprise on Tuesday. Owners of the steel mills in I-9 and I-10 sectors are of the view that they cannot shift their units due to the high cost. An officer of the CDA requesting not to be named said that former CDA chief had announced the decision to set up an industrial zone in Sector I-17 and H-16, so that all industrial units could be shifted there. “Land for the industrial zone was acquired and even compensation paid to an influential personality who purchased and handed over the land to the CDA. However, none of the CDA bosses were interested to implement the plan,” he said.
The official said that the CDA and the environment protection agency had decided that the steel mills would be asked to install chimneys of at least 80 feet height to save the residents from dangerous gases and pollution. But even this decision could not be implemented. After the 18th amendment, the Ministry of Environment was devolved and now there is no one to put a check on the mills,” he said.
When contacted, CDA senior official acknowledged that the decision to shift the units to sector I-17 and H-16 could not be implemented due to financial crunch. There are three stakeholders - CDA, the government and the mill owners. All of them have to reach an agreement if they want to resolve the issue.
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