DERA GHAZI KHAN

Annoyed at the unannounced electricity loadshedding, the local trade unions made it clear that the traders would not accept the government’s “illogical” order to close shops and other businesses till 8pm under the conservation plan.

They rejected the decision of the government to shut down shops till 8pm, marriage halls 10pm and restaurants till 11pm on daily basis.

DG Khan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vice President Sardar Shahbaz Ali Nasuha strongly criticised government’s decision, and said that the government was dragging Pakistan towards the stone age. The national economy was already on downward spiral as energy crisis had destroyed every sector, he said and added that business community was peace-loving while the acts of government were against them. “Being atomic power, we are facing energy crisis, he regretted.

During a survey conducted by The Nation, Divisional President of Central Trade Union of DG Khan Ch Riaz Ahmed said that forcible shutdown of businesses for conservation of electricity was a fraud. The government had already exercised it but to no avail, he said. Local administration should not try to impose this unilateral decision on business community. If administration tried it, traders would start protest, might be called shutter down strike across the division.

He added that the district administration was not interested to resolve the problems of the common public especially of the traders. “I requested to DCO Nadeemur Rehman to call the meeting of district power committee which consists of DSP City, President of Trade Union, political leaders Liaqat Rafiq, Habibur Rehman and one representative of Mepco but the DCO does not want to call meeting,” he said.

Central Trade Union Secretary General Fida Hussain Bhatti said inflation and poor purchasing power of people have already impacted business. “If we close their shops at 8pm, it would destroy our business,” he said. He added that people did not need Metro Bus; they wanted elimination of loadshedding in the country. Twelve-hour power loadshedding in urban and 18 hours in rural areas has caused mental disorders and crippled routine life.

“We want the government to resolve whatever the problem is behind the energy crises, we need only electricity to run our business and life,” he said.

Motorcycles Association President Qaiser Abbas Jugno said that Mepco should reduce duration of power loadshedding in DG Khan as Lahore City, otherwise all the trade unions of the division would resort to hold protest against the prolonged power loadshedding. He added that 12 hours of loadshedding in the city areas with order of shutdown at 8pm simply meant that business could not function at all. If government finishes its own corruption, the problem of loadshedding would be solved automatically, he added.

Goldsmiths Association President Muhammad Zubair Nizami said that if the government ensures uninterrupted power supply in markets from 7pm to 8pm, the traders could close shops at 8pm. He also suggested that the government should adopt an across-the-board policy in the respect across the country. Without ensuring uninterrupted power supply, Pakistan could never achieve prosperity, he said.

Mobile Phones Association President Mudsar Ameen said that energy crisis had damaged the entire country but the government was forcing the traders to shut down their shops at 8pm while  bureaucracy and other public authorities were enjoying  air-conditions in their offices and residences free of cost. The decision was unacceptable to the traders, he said. He added that South Punjab is hotter than Upper Punjab and the customer visit the markets in the evening, so it was not possible to shut down the shops at 8 pm.