Energy production in any country is the measure of its economy. No country can achieve high economic growth without producing sufficient energy. The production of energy reflects industrial output, agricultural output, transportation, etc. When energy supply of an industry is restricted, its output decreases and cost of production increases. Such a situation often leads to closure of industries, leaving a lot of labour unemployed. The current upsurge of inflation is also largely due to energy shortage in Pakistan. The number of people living below the poverty line is increasing owing to unemployment and inflation, both of which are by-products of the energy crisis. As the high production cost decreases the rate of output, the exports are continuously declining. Our trade deficit is increasing which eventually would result in an unstable economy. Like industry, agriculture is heavily dependent upon electricity and oil. Our crop production has failed to achieve its target and this failure has led to the creation of another crisis in the makingthe flour crisis. Increase in prices, and availability of oil and natural gas directly affects transport. Expensive commercial transport further increases the cost of a product which decreases 'purchasing capacity of the people. This means depreciation of national currency. Severe loadshedding, increasing trade deficit, high inflation, unemployment, depreciation of rupee, etc., are reducing living standards of the people in Pakistan. At this critical stage, we must take steps immediately to avert a fiasco of energy. The government should construct new dams and examine the existing ones for their up-gradation. There must be strict punishments for stealing electricity. Search for new oil reserves and adequate deployment of 'unconventional energy resources are the need of the hour. Most importantly, the public should also help the government by consuming energy with great care, or better still, great thrift. -KHURSHID ANWER, Lahore, March 5.