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Right where the road enters the vast premises of Pakistan Steel Mills, a verse from the Quran is displayed on a billboard: “And we have sent down iron, wherein is great military might and benefits for the people.” A few feet away, close to 25 men can be seen sitting under a shamiana — they have been staging a sit-in here since August 3, 2016
Right next to them is the Mills’ main entrance, named after Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Behind it lies 19,000 acres of land that houses various constituent parts of Pakistan Steel Mills: 20 different plants, including a thermal power station, forklifts, warehouses, conveyor belts, railway tracks, stockyards
Dozens of industries, including vehicle manufacturing factories and a steel mill, are located on a part of the same land. They were originally meant to draw their raw materials from Pakistan Steel Mills. No machines whir, no plants hum, no furnaces radiate inside the Mills
All 20 of its processing plants are shut. In an area fenced off to block entry without permission, 5,000 tonnes of rusted metal sits untouched — or so it seems. This was produced when the plants were running.
An insulated two-way conveyor belt – about 4.5 kilometres long – appears to be in perfect shape, even though it has not moved an inch for over a year. It used to carry raw material such as coal and iron ore from the docks at nearby Port Qasim and transported manufactured goods to the port. Its insulation ensured that those materials were not exposed to the elements and their surface temperature was maintained at a desirable level — a marvel of technology and architecture.
The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday said that the mismanagement of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) was the reason behind its downfall and in this regard summoned summoned federal ministers Asad Umar, Hammad Azhar and Muhammad Mian Soomro in connection with PSM employees promotion case on February 9
The apex court had initially summoned the ministers immediately, but after a recess had learned that the ministers were not in the city, and had therein directed them to appear before the court on February 9
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmad, while heading the two-member bench constituted to hear the case, remarked that in practical terms the Steel Mills did not exist and the court will order for closure of the mills
“The closed mills does not need any MD or chief executive. The management and officers of the institution are a burden on the national exchequer. They should be removed from the mills before the employees,” the CJP said
The CJP remarked the steel mills are profit-making entities in other parts of the world. “There will still be more staffers than needed at the PSM, including those working at its hospital and schools.”
Continuing to take the officers to task, the chief justice remarked that every institution of the country was functioning in similar conditions as the PSM. “Whether its the railways or the PIA, every institutions has a similar story to tell,” he said
Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) is in an utter state of disrepair, as its total losses have swelled to over Rs 200 billion. The last time PSM was profitable was during the financial year 2007-08 when it posted an annual profit of Rs 9.54 billion
However, its financial situation started to crumble when Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) government took over in 2008. It further declined under PML-N’s administration and losses have reached a staggering Rs 200 billion figure. Some poor decisions by the governments made sure that the steel mill never maintains a firm foothold again
As mentioned earlier, PSM started to decline when PPP took up reins in 2008. There were several other reasons including the global recession and financial crisis of around 2009 that contributed to PSM’s downfall
However, one of the main factors was stuffing the company with more workers than it needed by the PPP government. As per the estimates, PSM’s required around 9,000 employees to be fully functional. The PPP government instead hired over 17,000 people overburdening it in the process
During Financial Year 2008-09, PSM recorded a loss of Rs 16.9 billion. The trend continued as the total losses reached a staggering figure of Rs 118.7 billion by the end of PPP’s government’s tenure. The losses reached over Rs 200 billion when PML-N’s government ended its tenure on 31st May 2018
Due to the global recession, the steel sales dropped worldwide and the Pakistan government halted several projects under the Public Sector Development Programme (PDSP) as well. The prices of the raw materials used for steel manufacturing also increased with low capacity utilization at the same time
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