LAHORE - Strongly protesting discrimination in gas and electricity supply to industry in Punjab, the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry has convened an emergent meeting of all the chambers of commerce in Punjab and sector-specific associations on Wednesday to finalise protest plan across the province.

LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar said that protest plan is not all about keeping the industrial wheel on the run but saving millions of people from going unemployed and their families from starvation. He urged the government to immediately stop discrimination in gas supply to Punjab industry as the suspension of gas supply had caused closure of over 1300 industrial units, rendering thousands of workers unemployed.

He said that around 40 per cent of the industrial units in Punjab run on gas and gas suspension means no production by almost half of the industry in Punjab and a loss of millions of rupees to the exchequer.

He said that the ‘discriminatory attitude’ of the government was not only denting its goodwill and reputation but had also put a question mark on its ability to manage and govern things. He said that the units in Sindh were getting an almost uninterrupted supply except a two- to three-hour load shedding. Terming gas suspension a death knell for the industry and productivity, the LCCI sought the Prime Minister’s intervention and help restoration of supply of gas to the industry in Punjab.

How the industry would be able to manage export orders worth millions of dollars when there is no gas? What about the thousands of daily wagers who have a single source of income? And above all, they added, how the government would convince both the local and foreign investors for new investment when it is unable to manage supply of gas to existing industrial units.

He said that the suspension of gas is sending a very negative signal to the foreign buyers.  “Instead of coming up with some sort of relief package, the industry is being pushed to the wall.

He said that the businessmen were unable to understand that why the business community was not being taken into confidence over industry-related issues and if SNGPL was facing some supply related issues they must bring them to the notice of real stakeholders well ahead of time.