Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) has suspended gas supply to Punjab’s textile mills indefinitely, the factory owners association said Monday.

This was announced by All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab Chairman Aamir Fayyaz while addressing a press conference here on Monday.

He said that around 450 units of spinning, weaving and processing were being supplied gas just for four hours a day, which now has been halted completely.

He said that gas suspension to textile industry along with the failure of cotton crop in Punjab would further worsen the textile industry crisis in Pakistan.

The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) Punjab chapter was officially informed by SNGPL on Dec 9 that gas supply to the mills could be discontinued any time due to rising domestic demand.

Aptma Punjab Chairman Aamir Fayyaz said that gas supply to textile mills in Punjab was 25 percent in November, which reduced to 17 percent in the last week and now SNGPL has suspended it completely by issuing a letter of zero supply.

He said that Punjab textile industry consumes 60MMCFD, just 5 percent of 1,200MMCFD.

APTMA Punjab chairman observed that cotton arrival in November 2015 had dropped to just 5.1 million bales against 8.5 million bales of last year in Punjab, a decline of 40 percent.

He added that both gas closure and decline in cotton arrival would have dire consequences on the operations of basic textile industry, which is already suffering due to the high cost of doing business.

He said that the growth indicators of textile industry are in the red zone and some 200,000 jobs have already been lost in basic textile during the last two years in Punjab, as the government was focusing on building-up foreign exchange reserves through raising of funds from global investors or borrowed from international financial institutions, instead of strengthening textile industry to increase exports and earn foreign exchange to raise foreign reserves.

He urged the government to stop building foreign reserves artificially and rely upon textile exports, being the largest foreign exchange earner for the country.

He said that 40 percent of the production capacity in spinning, weaving and processing sectors has become redundant due to the high cost of energy, but the government was not taking necessary measures including the most needed reduction in the electricity tariff in line with the regional competitors.

He said that a general body meeting has been convened on Wednesday to consider once a week shutdown of mills in Punjab.

“The province-wide strike would continue on once a week basis until the government is ready to reduce the cost of doing business of textile industry. The viability of textile mills has been extensively compromised throughout the province because of the energy availability as well as affordability.”

He said that general body would approve the decision keeping in view of the apathy of the government towards the textile industry in terms of the restoration of viability package.