LAHROE – All Pakistan Textile Mills Association Punjab chairman Shehzad Ali Khan, while expressing concern over massive unannounced power loadshedding of up to 14 hours a day, has announced to launch protest if energy issue was not resolved within a week. He demanded the federal government to take steps to meet the shortage of gas and electricity in the country and save the industry from a total collapse.

APTMA Punjab chairman, flanked by group leader Gohar Ejaz, during a press conference held here on Saturday said the government had withdrawn the exemption from loadshedding to the textile industry on independent feeders and suspended power supply to the ‘most efficient’ industry during high demand period. Since last one week, industry is being forced to endure loadshedding like domestic consumers for long durations spanning 6-14 hours a day.

He said the textile mills situated in Discos including Islamabad Electric Supply Co (IESCO), Lahore Electric Supply Co (Lesco), Faisalabad Electric Supply Co (Fesco), and Gujranwala Electric Power Co (Gepco) were being hit hard by unannounced loadshedding.

He said Discos were intentionally violating the decision of the cabinet and blaming the NTDC for long spells of power outages. The NTDC officials, on the other hand, are of the view that how they can avoid power supply to a specific area after keeping functional the grid station of that area.

Shehzad Ali Khan said that a textile mill could only be viable if it was operational 24/7 and 365 days a year. Otherwise, he said it became unviable to sustain production, if there were power breakdowns for six to 14 hours a day. He said submissions were made to the President Asif Ali Zardari in a meeting, who directed the Ministry for Water and Power to ensure exemption from loadshedding to textile industry. This arrangement could, however, only lasted for a few weeks and this duration has been increased now.

He urged the government to act immediately and ensure exemption from loadshedding to the textile industry or at least follow the announced mandatory loadshedding until full exemption was ensured. APTMA patron-in-chief Gohar Ijaz said that thousands of labourers would be rendered jobless if loadshedding of gas and electricity continued.  He strongly opposed increase in gas loadshedding for industry and termed it a deliberate attempt to shatter the export oriented textile industry. This would inflict a loss of one billion rupees daily in export earnings and value addition.

He said the fact of the matter is mismanagement galore. Resultant upon this failure to manage, more than 300 industrial units and over 1.5 million textile workers would be affected due to shortage of basic fuel creating industrial unrest, he said.  APTMA leader further demanded restricting the CNG usage exclusively to the public transport in order to provide genuine relief to the masses.