LAHORE - The 2011 has been declared as the year of textile but the sector is neither supplied gas nor electricity on priority basis. So the export target could hardly be achieved due to interrupted gas supplies to the textile industries particularly in Punjab as over 75 percent of textile production is in this province. Though the textile exports increased in value terms by $1.6 billion in seven months but in terms of quantity there was a decline of 9.3 per cent due to energy crunch in the country. This was stated by All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Chairman Gohar Ejaz while talking the media here at APTMA House on Monday. He said the SNGPL Managing Director has been given extension in his service to effectively ensuring the task given by the federal govt. He said as to how gas loadshedding could increase to five days a week when the weather is much pleasant than severe cold of December and January when the gas supply to industries was cut by three days a week. They said SNGPL has not notified any reduction in gas production. He said President Asif Ali Zardari has convened a meeting of APTMA and SNGPL on Tuesday to avoid simmering labour unrest after Punjab mills lay off half million daily wage workers on the first day of cut in gas supplies. APTMA Chairman Gohar Ejaz was hopeful that the gas supplies would restored after meeting with the president. He said the mills are bearing the cost of over 1.5 million regular workers as they remained closed due to gas cut. However he regretted around half million daily wage workers could not be engaged due to stoppage of all gas related production function. Some industrialists also blamed the PML-N leadership for the gas crisis because they were signatory to the 18 amendment under which first right of use of the natural resource was given to the producing province. It was because of this amendment that Sindh and KP that produce gas obtained stay orders from their respective courts restraining the govt to stop gas supplies in these provinces in case of short supply. Now the onus of entire gas shortage is borne entirely by Punjab industries. Punjab industries faced 100 days of gas curtailment in 2009-10 out of which gas supply was cut for 55 days during summer and 45 days during winter. The gas supplies were curtailed this fiscal for 54 days with gas supply suspension of 10 days in November 2010, 14 days in December 2010, 18.5 days in Jan 2011 and 16 days in February 2011. Punjab industrialists complain that short supply of energy is impacting their productivity. One textile miller said Punjab is the hub of textiles in Pakistan. Salman 28-2-2011