KARACHI There will be no increase in electricity charges and the CNG stations will close for two days in Karachi. The issue of loadshedding has resolved after an agreement between Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) and Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC). General consumer will not suffer due to gas loadshedding. This was announced by Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain after a meeting at Governor House Karachi, which was attended by all the stakeholders of the city including representatives of KCCI. Earlier, talking to the businessmen at KCCI, Dr Asim saidloadshedding will stop in Karachi from Monday (tomorrow) and fuel supply to the KESC will also start on that day. It is necessary to use alternate fuel in vehicles due to the shortage of natural gas, he said. Mian Abrar Ahmand President KCCI said its very difficult for the industrialists to get ready their shipments on time due to hours-long power outages. Businessmen facing so many problems due to loadshedding issue, he said. Siraj Qasim Teli, former chairman KCCI, said KESC has increase its rates several time but didnt stop the loadshedding. He said the business community regularly pays utility bills on time but they (KESC) didnt stop loadshedding. 12 hours loadshedding drastically affects the industry where 1.5 million people directly and 7-8 million people indirectly affect by this. He said the government has assured them (businessmen) that KESC will not do it again. Zubair Mottiwala, former president KCCI, said that cost of doing business in Karachi is high compared to other countries as well. He said KESC gives lame excuses because the SSGC was giving the same quantity of gas to KESC last year but there was no loadshedding. APP adds: Dr Asim Hussain, while addressing the business community at KCCI, acceded to the demand of members of KCCI to look into options to hand over the management of KESC to the industrialists. If our businessmen are not happy with the performance then we should get rid of KESC management, he said. The Minister said that he will take up the issue of KESC with President Asif Ali Zardari in the next meeting and discuss the concerns of the industrialists. He said the next cabinet meeting will be held at Lahore on Tuesday to discuss electricity problems of people and businessmen of Karachi, besides, other issues and another high level meeting on KESC has been convened in Islamabad on Wednesday. We have made arrangements to provide furnace oil to KESC through PSO and end the electricity woes in the economic hub of the country, he maintained. He, however, asked the businessmen to prepare a comprehensive plan for KESC taking its legal implications also into account and added that it was not an easy task to achieve the required result in short span of time. You are Karachi based industrialists and in a better position about the electricity problems, give us a plan and the government will extend all support, he assured the KCCI members. He said the past regimes gave preferential treatment to the Independent Power Projects (IPPs) and Rental Power Projects (RPPs) but present government will take all corrective measures in this regard. KESC was singled out and given undue favours by framing policies for power generation, he pointed out. He said the cartels of LPG and LNG were also a matter of concern for the government and stressed the need for setting up of LNG terminals at ports to facilitate end consumers by weakening the cartels that constantly resort to hoarding of the LNG. The Federal Minister said that the next two years were very crucial as the country would likely face serious energy crisis and there was the need to opt for alternate solutions. He said during the last six years, the number of domestic consumers has grown tremendously and automobile sector and households need to be given alternate gas solutions to meet the requirement of export oriented industries which contribute to national exchequer. Dr Asim said that efforts were underway to exploit the energy resources of Thar coal but it would take 5 to 6 years for development. He said present energy crisis was due to absence of any long-term strategy to meet the future demand of the consumers which was constantly on rise. Meanwhile, Siraj Kassam Teli also said that they would stick to their protest by not paying electricity bills until they receive an assurance from KESC management in writing that there will be no electricity shortage in future. We are fed up with the approach of KESC management to handle the problem, he said.