Islamabad - The sale of metal desert coolers, famously known as ‘Lahori Coolers’ has picked up momentum as the summer is getting hotter and it is becoming hard to ward off the searing temperatures with just ceiling fans.

Riyasat Ali, a grade-IV government servant and father of three, has just bought Lahori Cooler because it is not only cheaper but also an alternative for air-conditioner to cope with the sizzling heat. “I explored several options including air conditioner. But I rejected the idea as I knew that energy use and electricity bill will be going through right from my roof. Pedestal fan too was not a solution. So I bought this cooler,” he said pointing towards the newly-bought Lahori Cooler, placed near one of the windows of his flat, located in Sector G-8 of the Capital.

“The most amazing thing about this cooler is its immaculate air throw. Before going to purchase it, I checked and found that I could feel the air by standing at least 18 to 20 feet away from it. That’s awesome,” he added. Many people, including small kids and the elderly, every year suffer from several heat-related diseases such as exhaustion, stroke, fever, difficulty in urination and collapse.

With temperatures crossing 40 Celsius mark one cannot expect ceiling and pedestal fans to save them from the scorching heat. June is the month of the year when heat reaches at its climax in twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad like other parts of the country.

And with the advent of June, the sale of Lahori Coolers too register an increase, providing much-needed relief to people inside their homes and bringing a brisk business for shopkeepers and manufacturers. This summer too, a large number of outlets of Lahori Coolers can be seen in different parts of the two cities, including Saddar, Raja Bazaar, Waris Khan, Sadiq Abad and Kohati Bazaar in Rawalpindi and in Abpara and Karachi Company in the Capital.

Shopkeepers have displayed them outside their shops to attract the customers. But like every year, the price-hike phenomenon has increased their prices this year too. Many customers talking to this agency complained that the prices of Lahori Coolers had significantly increased as compared to the previous year.

“I had bought a medium-sized Lahori Cooler last year for Rs 4,500 but now it costs over Rs 5,000,” said Sabir Hussain, a customer at Sadiq Abad, Rawalpindi. “My experience with this cooler, however; has been fantastic. The air throw is so powerful that it swaps away all the hot air from the room and makes it cool.

It is perfect if you have a bigger room and you don’t have an air conditioner in it,” he said while sharing his experience with the cooler. Shopkeepers said that like every year, this summer too people, particularly those belonging to middle class were showing keen interest in Lahori Coolers. “People belonging to middle class prefer Lahori Coolers to air conditioners mainly because electricity tariffs do not allow them to think about them (air-conditioner),” Gulraiz, a shopkeeper in Abpara Islamabad commented while arranging different sizes of Lahori Coolers in order at his shop in Abpara, Islamabad.

He said people also prefer Lahori Coolers because these could run on UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply). He was of the view that the load-shedding and tariff prices force the people to opt for some alternative of split air-conditioners. Another room-cooler seller adjacent to Gulraiz’s shop claimed that in extreme hot conditions, a split air-conditioner trips twice or thrice in an hour, while Lahori Cooler keeps on running constantly. “You can realize its utility when the light goes as it can run on UPS, consuming only 170 watts, not much more than a pedestal fan which consumes 150 watts,” he added.

He said that plastic-made air coolers were more durable but they too were not in the reach of poor people. The price of plastic-made coolers ranges 8,000 to 14,000. Consequently, the demand for desert coolers is going up every year, he said. A survey carried out by this agency revealed that prices of Lahori Coolers vary from Rs 5,000 to Rs 8,000 according to the size. A Lahori Cooler manufacturer, Rizwan, who runs his business in Raja Bazar said: “A rise in temperature increases the sale of Lahori Coolers too. I have been manufacturing Lahori Coolers for the past seven years and have noted a constant increase in their sale.”

Manufacturers claimed that there was not a significant increase in the

prices of Lahori Coolers. They said that it was natural that because of increase in prices of raw material used in the manufacturing of coolers, their prices also register an increase.

“The raw material for Lahori Coolers comes from Gujranawala, Lahore and Multan and its price has increased. Similarly, increase in transportation charges also boost prices,” said a manufacturer.