Jang's 894 newsprint reels lying cleared: KPT

By our correspondent

KARACHI: The Karachi Port Trust (KPT) has no instructions from the government to stop the release of newsprint for the Jang Group of Newspapers and the Thursday's incident was between the workers and the Customs officials, Chairman KPT Vice-Admiral Khalid Mir told The News.

"We have not received any instructions from the government to stop the release of newsprint for the Jang and whatever happened today was due to the Customs' insistence on the payment of dues before the reels were cleared," he remarked.

He said the untoward incident occurred when the Jang workers demanded release of all the reels of newspaper, while the Customs officials insisted on releasing only 200 reels as ordered by the Supreme Court. The chairman KPT said there were outstanding dues of Customs with the newspaper but the KPT dues were all cleared and 'gate release orders' were issued much earlier than the incident.

Khalid Mir said the port authorities had told the Customs to take the cargo to their bonded warehouse, but instead they left it at the KPT's premises. "It is due to this confusion an impression was created that the KPT had something to do with the matter," he said.

Luckily, the newsprint was cleared on the day of lapsing of its free-time-limit after which the KPT would have levied charges for storage. Under the KPT rules, the free-period of the landed cargo ranges between seven to 10 days after which it starts levying charges for storage as per the SROs of different commodities.

About the remaining 894 newsprint reels, the chairman said, "at present there were no charges on them and the Jang Group can pick it up if it gets permission from the government. But the KPT will not allow those cargoes on which the KPT dues are not cleared."

General Manager Operations of KPT, Capt. Irfan Dar told The News that he had given instructions to the Deputy Traffic Manager for the issuance of gate pass, "but he was busy which resulted in the delay of around half-an-hour."

The cargo was loaded days ago and there were no dues on the part of the KPT but if the trailers were stopped by the AIB, then it was the matter of Jang and the Customs, Irfan Dar added. However, people tried to enter the KPT at Ghas Bunder gate which was forcefully prevented by the gate-keepers. "Both the parties should have restrained from taking harsh measures as it was just a misunderstanding," Dar observed.

The News International Pakistan