LAHORE – SALMAN ABDUHU - The business community has called for an uninterrupted power supply to industry in Punjab to rescue it from total disaster.

They said that prolonged loadshedding in industrial area has sharply curtailed productions in as many as 350 industrial units of Lahore Township Industrial Estate besides putting at stake the jobs of millions of daily wagers and an investment of billion of rupees.

They said that the LESCO authorities had resorted to repeated power fluctuations in a clear violation of agreement with the industrialists of the area, thus pushing the entire industry to the wall. They said that if immediate measures were not taken to ensure continuous supply of electricity to the industrial units, nothing could stop the industrial wheel from coming to a grinding halt and massive lay-offs. They said that industry was already passing through a very difficult times and the none-supply of power and gas was adding fuel to fire.

Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Ahsan Bashir lamented that the textile industry on independent and grouped feeders in Punjab is being subjected to eight to 10 hours a day unannounced loadshedding against four hours a day announced load shedding.

According to him, the industry is being denied power supply in a situation when gas supply was heavily curtailed due to cold weather conditions. He said this alarming situation was translating into excessive shift closures and massive lay-offs across the Punjab province.

Ahsan said the textile mills are timely paying utility bills to Discos with minimum line losses. But still it was not understandable that why the government was not serious in prioritising such a potential customer in order to earn revenue and do away with the problem of circular debt, he added.

As of December 2011, the textile industry has already registered 35-40pc decline of exports in quantitative terms. He said the industry has strong apprehensions that country may lose $300 million per month during second half of 2012 due to non-availability of energy to the export-oriented textile industry.

He said the industrial unrest is on the rise as the energy managers are shutting down 132KVA lines for textile industry in Punjab.

Chairman APTMA Punjab said the textile industry was under serious threat of closure followed by bankruptcies, as its capacity of cash generation is at halt being a direct victim of energy shortage in the country. Further, he added that the industry was unable to meet deadlines against exports orders, earning a reputation of unreliable supplier in the world markets.

He urged the government to redress the situation immediately and ensure uninterrupted power supply to textile industry enabling it for earning foreign exchange and retaining jobs in the larger economic interest of the country.

Chairman Lahore Township Industrial Association Iftikhar Bashir Chaudhry, Senior Vice Chairman Ahmad Haleem Khan and Vice Chairman Fareed Ali Baber said that the industrialists are in deep troubles but the LESCO officials are least concerned and paying no heed to the genuine demand of the area businessmen.

Iftikhar Bashir said that it was very unfortunate that despite passage of four years, the present regime has failed to take corrective measures. They said that the reports of State Bank of Pakistan and Transparency International had already revealed the government performance.