Blocking Out The Sun

For the last 10 years the residents of Sharafi Ghot in the Landhi Industrial Area, Karachi have been suffering at the hands of a Chipboard Factory owner next to them. This factory ironically called Sunlight has been producing/emitting dust in such volumes that literally thousands of children as well as elders living in this Ghot have developed serious health problems. It is further reported that there are school going children with problems such as TB, Asthema, Severe Eye Infections and even cancer in this locality all due to the dust.

Normally factories with such high rates of dust emission are not located near residential areas for a good reason. They make them inhabitable. However as is the case often in our city the factories owner is a rich and influential person. This time from the Memon community. Thus he is able to escape the clutches of all environmental or other emission enforcing agencies at the behest of a few thousand poor who have no voice.

The people of the Ghot have even contacted the Memon federation which has assured them of speedy action but nothing has happened. Why should anything happen? What is the opportunity cost of a factory relocating or installing environmentally clean machinery visa a vi a few thousand poor lives.

Shame on the Memon community, we always claim to be philanthropic and socially active people. Where is all our charitable spirit now? I guess its out back printing notes.

Entire Story (The News)

22 Comments so far

  1. balma on April 16th, 2008 @ 1:56 am

    Are Pakistanis becoming stupid by the day?
    What does it have to do with Memons or Bangalis?
    There is a factory owner with no regards to law and environment… and lets stick to that.
    Thanks for bringing it up. Karachi is full of such illegalities.

  2. kabirdas on April 16th, 2008 @ 2:47 am

    Ref: balma April 16th, 2008 1:56 am

    How come you said the same thing which I was going to say after having read this post. Sometime back you may reacall some one by the name of Ibrahim suspected that Balma and Kabir Das may be the same person with two different names. There may be some truth in that allegation. However I will add my two bits as follows just to sound different:
    1. First of all please see whether the said factory was first set up there and the population grew around it later or vice versa.
    2. If it is found that the factory came first and population later then the factory owners can’t be blamed whether they are Memon or Hindus for that matter.
    3. If it is found that the population was already there and the factory came later then find out who permitted setting up of such a industrial unit in a populated area. One of the first things that needs approval or consent from a competent authority is for its site.
    4. Then go for the authority who approved this site for such an industrial unit in a populated area.
    5. Mr. Faisal, puting it mildly, I detest the way you have referred to the Memon community in this post. I assure you I am in no way related or connected to them or anyother business community. In my case like Mirza Ghalib "so pusht say hay paisha-e-aba sipah gari." You should have acted more responsibily while taking about a particualr community in this manner. Your said remarks do not fall under the purview of freedom of speech in case you have any such notion.
    6. If I were you I would take back my offensive remarks with due apologizes to redeem your position and to show you are an honourable man and a gentleman.

  3. Faisal.K (faisalk) on April 16th, 2008 @ 2:49 am

    i do not need to apologize i am a memon myself.

    Thus when i say the memon community it includes me in it.

    in case any of you noticed the "We"

  4. kabirdas on April 16th, 2008 @ 3:04 am

    Ref: Faisal.K (faisalk) April 16th, 2008 2:49 am

    You have got a point there. You should have highlighted the fact that you were a Memon yourself which would not have made your remarks about Memon community sound offensive. Anyway in that case I admire your courage and honesty of purpose. You are my type of person.
    Nevertheless, my other 4 points still need looking into.
    I think it is time we hit our beds and let the world continue for a while in its usual manner.
    Good night!

  5. starkcontrast (stabani) on April 16th, 2008 @ 9:01 am

    So wait? being memon allows you to call the whole community something bad?

    I’m memon, and, as usual, I find that you and the other’s post on KMB are borderline racial and in bad taste.

    The truth is, this would have happened no matter what group of people would be operating the factory. Being memon, bengali, punjabi, sindhi has nothing to do with it. It’s business. Plain and simple. Sad you don’t really understand that.

  6. Raza (raza) on April 16th, 2008 @ 9:33 am

    Oh come on. Of course it makes no difference who operates this factory. But IN THIS INSTANCE, IT IS A MEMON. And being a memon himself, he was merely showing his disappointment.

    Anyway, kabirdas sahab raises good points. It is not uncommon to see katchi abadas springing up in odd places in KHI. This needs looking into.

  7. Tariq Khanani (tariqkhanani) on April 16th, 2008 @ 10:20 am

    Its a serious matter and i dont know why community is not taking any action against him. But nevertheless, there is no importance of finding out who came first, main thing is there is a problem and it should be solved anyway.

    Faisal Bhai,

    If someone is wrong, its community has nothing to do with it right? He is memon because he was born in memon family, which in this case is communities bad luck. if someone commits a crime, it doesn’t matter from where he belongs, what i or u should care is that he is a criminal. if you are a memon, it doesn’t mean you have the right to say anything about your community. Even if you think memons are bad because they follow some stupid traditions, you try to correct them rather point them out in public.

  8. kabirdas on April 16th, 2008 @ 11:43 am

    Ref: starkcontrast (stabani) April 16th, 2008 9:01 am
    " I’m memon, and, as usual, I find that you and the other’s post on KMB are borderline racial and in bad taste."

    KD: The Faisal post can’t possibly be racial or ‘borderline racial’ since he himself is a Memon. Now sir, can you point out a single other post which according to you is racial or ‘borderline racial’ for the education of us all.

    Ref: Raza (raza) April 16th, 2008 9:33 am
    " And being a memon himself, he was merely showing his disappointment."
    " Anyway, kabirdas sahab raises good points."

    KD: Agree with both of your observations. One hundred percent with the first one. And whole heartedly with the second one:-)

    Ref: tariqkhanani April 16th, 2008 10:20 am
    "if you are a memon, it doesn’t mean you have the right to say anything about your community. Even if you think memons are bad because they follow some stupid traditions, you try to correct them rather point them out in public."

    KD: I think your point has already been answered amply and most satisfactorily by Mr. Raza. Please reread his remark and think about it cooly.

  9. Shamsi (shamsi) on April 16th, 2008 @ 12:05 pm

    Law breaking is the HABIT.

    Impersonating, & Definace have become a inbred culture of urban pakistanis. we always portary and throw false weight around.

    Am sure many of us use words like " tum ka pata hai mai kon houn ", we use uniforms which depict security guards as active service law enforcers, we use number plates of color coding for govt offices, we act protray an artificial outter of ourselves.

    The factory permissions are granted, against CASH. not against any physical inspections, not against any safety security standards of hazards to human life within or around the area.

    why target one specific community. it is NATIONAL Plague we are Infected with

  10. mansoor (kar_mansoor) on April 16th, 2008 @ 12:24 pm

    dude! seriously??! are you daft!

    sure, lets blame the factory owner, lets run them out of city because they are all evil!! they make money afterall, so they must be?

    did you even consider the fact that the ‘goth’ might have sprung up around the factory? these people come over from everywhere.. and first setup camp on the first patch of free land they see… next thing you know, there are katchay makanaat, and then pakkay makanaat.. until they cry that the very factories which gave them sustenance for all these years, are now their enemies? because their children how have other jobs.

    did the fact that this ‘residential area’ happens to be located in ‘landhi INDUSTRIAL area’ escape your notice?

  11. Shamsi (shamsi) on April 16th, 2008 @ 1:06 pm

    Guess why Dalmia (national cement) is closed, and Valika Cement (Javedan cement) is under court orders for closure by 2015. — Both factories are now surrounded by Thick human population.

  12. kabirdas on April 16th, 2008 @ 1:11 pm

    A. shamsi April 16th, 2008 12:05 pm
    B. mansoor (kar_mansoor) April 16th, 2008 12:24 pm

    It may sound paradoxical but it isn’t. It may sound funny but it isn’t. It may sound absurd but it isn’t. KD thinks both of you are right about what you are saying. However, it is possible that one of you is slightly more wrong than the other. You see Isaac Asimov thought that right and wrong are fuzzy concepts and thus ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are not absolute but relative. This he describes and explains most beautifully in his enchanting style of writing in an essay under the caption of ‘The Relativity of Wrong’ in one of his well over 365 books also titled ‘THE RELATIVITY OF WRONG.’
    If you have the time sometime do read this book or anyother of his books explaing the science to laymen.
    Have a good day.

  13. kabirdas on April 16th, 2008 @ 1:40 pm

    Ref: shamsi April 16th, 2008 1:06 pm

    Here is another food for thought for all of you. The cement factory by the name of FECTO is located, of all the places, close to a populated area of Islamabad. Setting up of such a plant within Islamabad limits was not allowed. The sponser of this project had some linkage with the dictator Gen Zia who violating the well defined zoning laws of Islamabd alloed this project to go ahead with strict conditions for environmental protection. The factory was set up with state of the art equipment for envirnmental protection such as dust absorption and scrubber etc etc. The factory has been operating since then, I believe, satisfactorily.
    I am not quite sure if the special equipment installed then is still working satisfactorily or not. Being old the said equipment may not be working with the same efficiency as when new. Couple of times I heard it was not. Still it may still be good enough to avoid detection of its below normal performance. After all it is in Islamabd where a differnt breed of people live. Not the people who live close to this factory. They be damned like most others in rest of Pakistan. I mean the ones who live in the developed sectors of Islamabd.
    Take care.

  14. d0ct0r on April 16th, 2008 @ 1:40 pm

    as @mansoor pointed out that it is "Landhi Industrial Area" and not "Landhi Housing Authority" so obviously industrial units can be setup,but they do need to follow the relevant enviromental protection guidlines , recently Dawn news reported that Engro milk plant was dumping untreated toxic water in river indus adverse affecting the blind dolphin population.. industrialist should make money but don’t cause irreversible damage to the enviroment , and Sindh EPA should also get its act together

  15. Faisal.K (faisalk) on April 16th, 2008 @ 3:16 pm

    Re: Mansoor
    First of all no i am not daft,and you by judging me as such by a post on here are showing your own mental stature. Secondly kindly go and look at the map of Karachi as it was planned at inception. Landhi and Korangi were the residential area and Defence the Industrial area. Now tell me who is at fault for settling in Landhi and Korangi? By the way the Goth in question has been there for a number of years before the industry was installed there. In fact forget this one example, the entire Industrial areas of Karachi have such residential areas in close proximity to them. The fact still remains, even if there was no one living next to the factory, it should not be emitting dust in amounts which are a severe health risk. I have mentioned the problems faced by the people close to the factory, can you even imagine what the people working in the factory inhale and what it does to them? No one is against this factory or any other factory because of the money they make, but do they have to break all laws to do it? why cannot this factory install an underground tank for storing its emitted dust like its pointed out in the article? then it would not matter who lives next to it or when they moved in. It is easy to say my posts target the rich, why does everyone automatically take the side of those who have deep pockets is my concern! FYI their children will never make it to other jobs my friend most of them are going blind by the dust!

    Re: All those who think i am targeting or bashing memons.
    Nothing could be further than the truth. The fact is that i was merely stating things as they are. The owner of the said factory is from the Memon Community so what am i supposed to say, he is punjabi? or some other ethnic diversity? Who is saying the entire community is responsible, only he is responsible for his actions. However the fact that the leaders of the various jamats (memon jamats) sit on national tv and discuss things like the timing of weddings for hours, while real issues pertaining to our community like this are ignored is what makes me really mad. Thus i said shame on us. We can build hospitals for the sick, but we cannot convince those among us causing the sickness to spread to stop.

    Funny how broad sweeping statements against "Mohajirs and Immigrants" as well as other ethnic groups are bandied about here in the comments area while anyone who mentions the word memon and corrupt in one sentence is assumed to be a hater. Well done!

  16. calyps on April 16th, 2008 @ 5:35 pm

    People are usually connected to each other..

    we should do some investigation and reveal the name of the company / owner. and try to listen his side of story as well..

  17. kabirdas on April 17th, 2008 @ 12:42 am

    Guys and Gals here is some more food for thoughts for you:
    1. There are World Bank Environment Protection Standards if followed you can set up this kind of plant in the heart of a city and nothing detrimental to health will happen.
    2. There are also Pakistan Environment Protection Standards very stringent which if followed you can set up this kind of plant close to a populated area and nothing detrimental to health and enviromant will happen.
    3. Implementation of these standards entail incorporating addition costly equipment which raises the project cost and thus makes the project unviable.
    4. There is also the feeling that the west has polluted the environments to the maximum when industralizing and are now imposing stringent standards on us for the protection of enviroment.
    5. So the Pakistan standards are there and also a full fledged ministry and other departments to enforce these standards. But as usual like other laws in Pakistan their implementation is difficult because of corruption at all levels.
    6. The kind of thing as described in this post seems to be partly because of corruption, partly because of criminal negligence of various departments concerned, partly because of public apathy, partly because of life being cheap in Pakistan due to over population and partly because of the affected people not having a voice.
    7. If all the above factors are further analysed you may well find that the root cause of this malaise may well be due to lack of rule of law in Pakistan.
    8. Till we ensure the principal of the rule of law in Pakistan nothing much will change; democracy or no democracy. We already have enough laws to develop a fairly safe, secure and civilized society. What we are lacking is their implementation and uniform application without fear and favour.
    9. In 60 years history of this country we have an opportunity to establish the principal of rule of law in this country for all time to come. If we missed this opportunity now we may not get another opportunity like this for another 60 or 100 years and till then we could continue floundering like we have been doing so far.
    10. I would therefore suggest we should forget about evrything else for the time being. Let us get up and go out to support the 13 months old lawyers movement for the rule of law which is nearing fruitation. The count down has begun for the restoration of judiciary as a first step for the rule of law. There are just 15 more days to go. Be ready for the final push or final shove if it comes to that for the restoration of judiciary and start of rule of law.

  18. MB (kar_munib) on April 17th, 2008 @ 4:14 pm

    tough discussion . . . .

    I guess the memon part was not OKAY, rest of the post is a good one

  19. Shamsi (shamsi) on April 17th, 2008 @ 10:41 pm

    kahan sai chalay thay topic lai kar … kahan goum kar deya uss ko… :)

  20. Shamsi (shamsi) on April 17th, 2008 @ 10:48 pm

    kabirdas –

    Marhom Mohammed Ali Jinnah is the ONLY MOST POWERFUL person in country of Pakistan, in shape of Currency NOTE. Every Law shy out when HE turns UP.

    We have policies, we have standards ironically Implementation and Enforcment does not EXIST.

  21. kabirdas on April 18th, 2008 @ 1:37 am

    Ref: shamsi April 17th, 2008 10:48 pm

    Yes, you are right but don’t forget he is also getting weaker and weaker by the day. Now it takes 10 Quaid-e-Azam to do the same work done which previously used to take one Quaid-e-Azam.
    By the way Quaid-e-Azam also talked about rule of law in Pakistan during his address at the inaugration of the State Bank of Pakistan. I have a record of it which I can locate and produce if some one has any doubt about it.
    I will reiterate that the rule of law is the solution to our problems.

  22. Shamsi (shamsi) on April 18th, 2008 @ 8:19 pm

    Agreed –

    Implementation of LAW is the core problem., Law exist without implementation.

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