LAHORE - Industrialists and traders of Punjab during 2nd Energy Conference held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani at Chief Minister’s Secretariat here on Monday strongly reacted to the long and unjust load-shedding of electricity.
While registering their protest, they said that there was 16 hours worst load-shedding in the province as a result of which industries and factories have been closed and millions labourers have become jobless.
Anjuman-e-Tajran Punjab President Abdul Mannan said that a step-motherly treatment was being meted out to Punjab with regard to loadshedding of electricity that brought out industrialists, labourers and people to street against long outages.  He said that decisions of energy conference held in Islamabad two years’ ago had not been implemented due to which energy crisis had worsened.
Aptma President Gauhar Ejaz said that in 2009 there was gas load-shedding for 90 days whereas this year, it was for 180 days. In such a situation, it is difficult to run the industries. He said that private sector was providing jobs to 1.5 crore people. The treatment being meted out to the industries of Punjab province with regard to load management of energy was not appropriate, he added. Irfan Qaisar, representative of Lahore Chambers of Commerce and Industry said that there is no loadshedding of electricity and gas for the industries of Karachi whereas there was 16 hours load-shedding for the industries of Punjab due to which our industrial sector has been ruined and lakhs of labourers have been deprived of their livelihood. Mian Muhammad Mansha, Chairman Muslim Commercial Bank said that circular debt was a serious matter which should be resolved on priority basis. He said that the projects generating energy through cheap resources will have to be executed speedily for overcoming energy crisis.
Various industrialists and traders demanded on this occasion that sincere efforts should be made for resolving energy crisis and a fair policy regarding load-shedding should be adopted throughout the country.
Reacting the recommendations of the energy conference to just conserve energy by working five days a week, the business community has criticized the government, saying that the whole attention has been given to conservation instead of generation of electricity, which shows ill-planning of our decision-makers.
They criticised Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani and the Chief Ministers of the other provinces for making the energy conference meaningless by not presenting any formula to generate power through new power projects.
“No economy can grow with such moves aimed at just conservation that is not supported by any serious efforts at generation ,” they said.
They said that by reducing the number of working days for government offices and by implementing street-light conservation plan , recommended by the Ministry of Water and Power the government, the energy crisis will never end. The only solution is some solid and concrete plan for power generation through cheaper ways including hydle and other alternate energy solutions, said business community leader and former LCCI SVP Abdul Basit.
He said that conference members have also decided to shut all commercial centres throughout the country at 8 pm but no one has stressed the need for new power generation projects.
“How about seven-day holiday a week. That will ensure 100 per cent energy conservation,” he questioned. He strongly flayed stress on conservation instead of generation . No economy can grow with such moves aimed at conservation that is not aided by any serious effort at generation . However, the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry appreciated the Chief Minister Punjab Mian Mohammad Shahbaz Sharif for advocating Punjab energy case very properly and very wisely.
LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that the Chief Minister Punjab has taken a wise decision by hosting second energy conference in the province where the Prime Minister and all the Chief Ministers gave their point of view on as to how the energy shortage could be bridged.
He hoped that the energy conference would help enable the government to find out a lasting solution to the prevailing energy crisis across Pakistan in near future as the delay to the energy and gas crisis was hitting the entire trade and industry.
He said that there should be a rationale formula for the distribution of the energy in the country. “If there is any shortage in the country, it should be distributed equally amongst the provinces.”
He said that there has been a competition within the country as Karachi being the largest industrial city has no electricity and gas loadshedding whereas in Lahore that is a second largest industrial city, there is an electricity loadshedding of 12 hours a day for the industry while it has been deprived of 80 days gas in the last 95 days. Therefore, an equitable electricity distribution formula needs to be devised accordingly.
Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that this is perhaps the only example in the world that in any country the difference in cost of doing business is almost double in the second largest industrial city as compared to the first one.