KARACHI: President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan has said that trade and business scenario has been rapidly changing and it was a matter of concern that the situation has worsened to a great extent and may worsen further in the days to come. “We are going to face a lot of challenges in terms of doing business in future hence, we all have to stay united and make collective efforts to overcome all the ongoing and upcoming challenges”, he added while speaking at a meeting during the visit of delegation from Anjuman-e-Tajiran Boulton.
Senior Vice President KCCI Arshad Islam, Vice President KCCI Shahid Ismail, Chairman Special Committee for Small Traders Majeed Memon, President Anjuman-e-Tajiran Boulton Market Rafiq Jadoon, Patron-in-Chief Anjum-e-Tajiran Boulton Market Saleem Farooqui and others were also present at the meeting.
Agha Shahab pointed out that Boulton Market was one of the oldest markets where hundreds of businessmen, small traders and shopkeepers etc. have been running their businesses since last more than 50 years. The Karachi Chamber has always supported Anjuman-e-Tajiran Boulton Market which was formed immediately after the tragic Boulton Market inferno incident in which dozens of markets in the locality were set on fire in 2009. “KCCI promptly responded to the tragic incident under specific directives of Chairman BMG Siraj Teli and ensured full compensation to all the affectees. It was for the very first time in the history of Pakistan that all the affectees were fully compensated and their business premises were reconstructed exactly as per their aspirations which only became possible due to untiring day-night sincere efforts made by KCCI”, he added.
Appreciating the vibrant role being played by small traders in the economic development, he said that even the wheels of industries were spinning due to contribution being made by the small traders hence the survival of small traders is equally important for the survival of industries.
President KCCI also paid glowing tribute to Majeed Memon for striving really hard to bring all the associations of numerous markets in Karachi under KCCI’s roof with an intention to listen to their problems, seek inputs and make collective efforts for resolving the problems of the business community.
Referring to concerns expressed by President Anjuman-e-Tajiran Boulton Market over the drive initiated to preserve the heritage buildings at Marriot Road, Agha Shahab assured to look into this matter and take steps to provide relief to perturbed traders of the said area. “We will invite Sindh Minister for Local Government, Commissioner Karachi and other high ups from the heritage department so that this particular issue could be discussed at length and a feasible solution could be agreed upon in consultation with all stakeholders, particularly the traders and shopkeepers of Marriot Road”, he added.
Leaders of the delegation and President Anjuman-e-Tajiran Boulton Market Rafiq Jadoon, while seeking KCCI’s assistance, informed that the purpose of their visit to KCCI was to highlight a very serious issue being faced by the businessmen, traders and shopkeepers of Mariott Road who have been facing a lot of hardships as the local administration along with Heritage Department and under the supervision of Architect Yasmin Lari have initiated a drive to preserve heritage buildings and plan to carry out beautification and establish small cabins by occupying at least three feet space on the footpath outside all the existing legitimate shops situated at Mariott Road.
“In this regard, several spots at Marriot Road have been cordoned off, resulting in intensifying the hardships for thousands of shopkeepers and the offices located in the said vicinity”, he said, adding that anyone raising voice against this so-called drive to preserve heritage buildings is taken into custody by local police which was highly unfair.
He warned that the shopkeepers are losing their patience and they may find no other option but to come out on streets to protest against the so-called preservation of heritage buildings which was not happening at all but it seems that only those steps were being taken to create more problems for the legitimate shopkeepers who have been running their businesses from this particular area since last more than five decades. “The walls of one of the oldest public toilet at this particular vicinity were also demolished and the sewerage system has also been destroyed, which has created a lot of problems of local shopkeepers whose businesses have come down to 30 percent as customers are reluctant to visit their shops because of filthy environment and unpleasant smell in the area”, he added while seeking KCCI’s support to deal with this particular issue.