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My Trip to the PUR Plant

Today I'm traveling out to the Hub plant where we make the PUR sachets.   It's located about an hour and a half out of Karachi in the city of Hub, hence the name Hub plant.  Hub is in the Balochistan territory that adjoins Iran and Afghanistan.   The terrain looks like the arid south west of the United States with plateaus and dusty soil.   

Broken_down_carAfter a decent night's sleep, I'm rested and eager to meet and thank our local production team.  My mood is not dampened by the fact that our car decides to not work for a while.   It gives me a chance to learn about the extraordinary efforts of  PUR team at the Hub plant.

The team is by led by Kurram Taufiq the Operations and Khurram_taufiq Initiatives Manager.  Kurram and his team of Shah Alam, Waqar Ahmed, Mujeeb (yep one name like Madonna), and Furqan Maqsood are real heroes in our effort to bring PUR to the tsunami victims.   

This team had only recently completed the start-up of PUR in the Hub plant a few weeks prior to the tsunami.   In fact, they were all planning some much needed vacation that they had not been able to take since the start-up began in August.   They had planned to build the inventory for our future emergency relief efforts and then take holiday during early January.   Now they are making a commitment to delay their vacations as we ramp up to round-the-clock production until April to meet the surge in demand.   

In fact, during EID and the start-up period, Kurram frequently worked so late that he slept at the plant.  Like the rest of the Pakistan team, Kurram is thrilled to be able to make an important contribution to the survivors of the tsunami.    

While showing me the production facility, Kurram points out  with pride their additional statement of purpose for their PUR production team:  "Touching lives, Improving life...P&G.   Touching lives, Improving Life, Saving Lives...PUR".

After the plant tour, we focus on addressing a new bureaucratic issue that has surfaced.   Our production plant has been temporarily shut-down by a query from the local district environmental protection agency.  The query seems easy to address but every day lost is more than 100,000 sachets that we're unable to provide for the tsunami survivors.   

Kurram and Syed Masood develop a plan to address this.  I'm grateful to be able to help by providing needed evidence for the authority that we need to produce product immediately to help the tsunami survivors.   Syed uses his persuasive skills to gain a commitment for a 24 hour turn-around from the authority, which is a near miracle for a bureaucrat.   

We then hear more good news when Monte Auchenbach calls from Islamabad.   He also has pulled off his bureaucratic miracle and has in hand the needed exemption from the Department of Commerce.   We're still hopeful that despite all of these obstacles we can get the final clearances to load and air ship the AmeriCares product on it's scheduled departure in two days.


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dear greg

I retired from Gillette in 2000, and your piece from Hub made me wonder whether you heard that Gillette had a factory there for 10 years? We were one of the very few foreign direct investors in Pakistan in the 1980s - I was fortunate, or otherwise, to be one of the small team who negotiated the investment with the Pakistan government culminating in the opening in November 1989 of a fine new blade plant in the Hub industrial estate - with the late Nawab Bugti, then chief Minister of Balochistan, as chief guest. This plant consolidated Gillette's position in the Pakistan blade market after years of uncertain imports, but was closed in 1999 as part of a global rationalisation programme.

More topically, could you kindly let me know more about CSDW's work in India, and possible availability of PUR filters for use by voluntary organisations in rural development projects? I am now directing a small UK charity called Jeevika Trust which works exclusively in India helping poor and marginalised villagers - among the 37% of all Indians existing below the poverty line - to build sustainable livelihoods. Part of this is access to water, including safe drinking water and we have a number of projects which focus on water harvesting and storage in a variety of geographic/cultural conditions. We would like to explore the role of water purification in addressinng the overall challenge of water: 400,000 under-5s in India die every year through diarrhoea and 1.5 million from water-borne diseases.

I look forward to hearing from you at your convenience - meanwhile happy travels!

Andrew Redpath
(ex legal & govt affairs director, e.hemisphere, Gillette)

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