The combined effluent treatment plant (CETP) at the Korangi Industrial Area in Karachi, is facing a shortage of funds which experts fear may lead to its closure. The project was launched by the Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA) to control tannery pollution and a PTA Environmental Society was also set up in this connection.

The project was initiated in 1996 but it started functioning after five years. The total cost of the project came to around Rs521 million. The Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) shared around 64% of the total cost, the PTA 28% while the government of Sindh and the Netherlands contributed 4% each.

The Netherlands granted Rs20 million for a study and feasibility report on the project and the Export Promotion Bureau provided Rs187.5 million for initial work in the first phase.

The EPB have said they will release the remaining funds only after the PTA members have paid out their share of around Rs35 million, but sources report that the PTA Environmental Society could collect only Rs3 million out of total Rs35 million in the past two years.

Sources also said that a sum of Rs167.5 million has already been utilised from the EPB funds and Rs20 million will be put to use in a week or two.

Fearing the closure of CETP, the PTA has requested the EPB to release remaining funds and allocate some more to run the plant successfully. But, the sources said the Export Promotion Bureau rejected the plea urging the PTA members to pay their share.