LAHORE - The textile industry in Punjab would go on strike in case government fails to address the issue of electricity supply within a week. The textile millers and workers would protest against electricity loadshedding in all major textile hubs across the Punjab.

This was stated by All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) in an emergent meeting at the APTMA Punjab office.

APTMA Punjab Chairman Shahzad Ali Khan along with central chairman Ahsan Bashir and group leader Gohar Ejaz informed that textile industry in Punjab is under severe pressure due to energy crisis and mills are heading towards forced closure. They said that electricity load shedding has increased to eight hours a day today from four hours a day. There is also gas curtailment to the industry, which is likely to be worst from next week. But electricity supply to textile industry has reached to an alarming level, hitting hard to the industrial potential of earning $1 billion per month besides providing jobs to millions of workers in Punjab.

Chairman APTMA Punjab Shahzad Ali Khan said that total demand of electricity in the country is not more than 11000MW, which can easily be met by thermal generation. But still the textile industry is facing with unscheduled load shedding, started from May 2012 with incremental increase with every passing month. Today the situation has become worst and it is becoming unviable for the industry to keep its operations intact.

Shahzad Khan said the APTMA members have decided to negotiate with the Ministry of Water & Power during the current week for uninterrupted electricity supply to textile industry and avoid pushing it to destruction, as it would be detrimental to country.

Speaking on the occasion, Group Leader Aptma Gohar Ejaz said that there was no load shedding in textile industry before May 2012. Similarly, on gas supply, the industry has faced load shedding for 77 days in 2008-09, 95 days in 2009-10, 136 days in 2010-11, 185 days in 2011-12 and 62 days in 2012-13 until 10th of December. So far, one-third capacity is closed and another 50pc would be affected from next week onwards when there would be severe shortage of electricity and gas.

Gohar Ejaz said the APTMA leadership would make sure that there is no closure of textile industry for even an hour while pursuing the government to meet the shortages for electricity generation. He said some 10 million workers are attached with textile industry in Punjab, bearing the burden of 50 million families in total. On this occasion, Central Chairman Ahsan Bashir appreciated President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister of Pakistan Raja Pervez Ashraf and Advisor to Prime Minister on Petroleum & Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain for the level of support they have provided over the last four and half years. He said the government has proved time and again that it was functioning with pro-industry approach and expressed the hope that sanity would prevail ahead and no one would be allowed to close the industry for even a single day.