LAHORE - The textile industry has urged the government for an out of box solution instead of disconnecting gas supply to textile mills from 2nd of December.

Addressing a hurriedly called press conference on Wednesday, APTMA Punjab chairman SM Tanvier said the industry would refrain from holding strike and would prefer to negotiate with the government with some innovative proposals to deal with the situation.

He said the government should avoid any drastic measure of gas disconnection from 2nd of December and instead of manage the everyday increasing load on supplies through hourly-based supplies to stakeholders.

The gas supply to textile mills in Punjab has reduced to 2.33 days and electricity supply has restricted to four to six hours a day at present and the SNGPL is set to disconnect gas supply to textile mills in Punjab from 2nd of December under its winter load management plan. Present demand on the SNGPL network is around 3500MMCFD per day against total availability of 1450MMCFD per day. S M Tanveer said the industry is likely to lose exports worth $1.2 billion per month. There are reports that gas supply to textile mills will remain disconnected for three months, which means that the industry would lose $3 billion, equivalent to existing foreign exchange of $3.3 billion. Further, he said, textile industry in Punjab was bearing a loss of Rs72 billion due to short supplies of gas, lurking around 114 days per annum against 100 percent supplies to mills in Sindh.

Chairman APTMA Punjab said the crisis of gas supplies is solely hampering industry growth in Punjab, rendering 3 million workers jobless owing to closing down of one shift a day due to short supply.

S M Tanveer expressed fear that cotton prices are likely to crash in case of gas supply suspension to mills in Punjab and growers would be left into lurch. Also, he said, the foreign buyers were reluctant to place orders to textile industry in Punjab while the millers in Sindh were also projecting this aspect to the buyers.

He said the facility of market access from the EU would prove meaningless in the presence of gas supply cuts to the industry.

Chairman APTMA Punjab said the situation would become worst with the start of canal desilting campaign and the industry would be in a total darkness.