THE countrywide increase of over seven percent in gas tariffs by the government would deal a heavy blow to the poorer sections of society. The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority on Friday approved a summary proposed by the SSGCL and SNGPL for raising the tariffs that would be effective from the start of the next year. Though OGRA had rejected the original demand of about 40 percent increase, the possibility of another increase in the days to come cannot be ruled out. However this is not all that the public would have to bear. As told by the authorities already, gas load shedding would also be starting from next month. This would not only cause inconvenience to the public but also hamper industrial activity. The government had better take notice of the repercussions of these moves on the people who are already finding it hard to make both ends meet. In the meanwhile, there are reports that the country would be experiencing water shortage as well followed by a new spell of power load shedding. The water level in the dams and other reservoirs is at present quite low that would be greatly hampering efforts to fight the menace of power shortages. Not surprisingly, it is being suspected that this could turn out to be an unprecedented power crisis in the country's history, worse than what it had gone through a short while ago. Our economy that is already is in a tailspin would find it extremely hard to absorb the dual shock of electricity and gas outages. Reportedly a number of factories in the industrial hub of Faisalabad have closed down because of the gas shortage. Worse still, the government according to a private TV channel has asked hundreds of industrial units countrywide to shut down at least for three months. This would spell disaster for the sector whose contribution to the national economy is quite large and on the other hand thousands of sole breadwinners in their families would be deprived of their jobs.