LAHORE (PPI) - Chairman of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab Gohar Ejaz has feared closure of 70 per cent of the spinning industry by the end of May due to cotton shortage as well as Ministry of Textile Industrys inability to ensure free market mechanism in the country. Talking to a select group of Journalists, Chairman APTMA Punjab said 70 percent of the spinning mills are left with cotton stocks until May 30th, followed by a severe crisis due to irrational intervention in the free market mechanism by the Ministry of Textile Industry. He said only 30 percent of the mills are covered with 90 days stocks and 70 percent mills, mainly supplying yarn to the local market, are carrying 30 days cotton stocks. The member mills of APTMA have already started reporting closures due to the shortage of cotton, which is exorbitantly at high price in international market. He said a distortion of the free market mechanism by the Ministry of Textile Industry has already triggered cotton shortage in the country, which was 3 million bales in early 2010 and has reached to 4 million bales at present. Despite assurance by the Ministry of Textile Industry to support cotton import facilitation measures, no tangible step has so far been taken to deal with cotton crisis for the industry. Gohar lamented that a few vested interest groups were misleading the government as well as the public by misstating that a ban on yarn export would save jobs, which was factually a wrong perception. He said there was a surplus yarn of 15000 tones per month since February 2010 due to reduction in exports after undue government intervention and many value-added exporters have build up their yarn stocks accordingly. Therefore, the hue and cry made by the vested interest elements is out of place and it was the spinning industry being grilled by the Ministry at the whims of a few opportunists. According to him, the cotton prices have jumped to 95 cent per pound against 75 cent per pound since March, showing an increase of 27 percent, making the spinning industry unable to import cotton and subsidise yarn to the local ancillary industry. The Textile Ministry is not pre-empting the fast changing cotton scene worldwide and pressurizing local spinning industry unnecessarily. Gohar urged the Ministry of Textile Industry to resolve amicably the ongoing crisis by taking holistic view of the situation in the larger economic interest of the country. He expressed the hope that Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani would take stock of the situation and ask the Ministry to evolve a national policy like he did in the case of energy crisis.