FAISALABAD - The Pakistan Textile Exporters Association on Friday decided to organise a workers’ ‘million march’ towards the federal capital against the suspension of gas supply to the industries for indefinite period.

However, a schedule for the long march will be announced later after consultation with all the stakeholders, PTEA Chairman Rana Arif Tauseef said while addressing a protest rally at Magna Textiles Khurrianwala. Meanwhile, an unemployed wager tried to commit suicide by self-immolation but the PTEA chairman immediately rushed towards him and extinguished the fire with his coat.

Rana Arif then added that the government had failed to overcome the crisis and stopped gas supply to the industries reneging all his previous commitments and assurances rendering millions of workers jobless. He totally denied the plea of petroleum ministry that gas companies were not bound to supply gas to industries in the three months of winter.

“If this argument is true, what would be the answer for severe loadshedding of gas during summer? Practically, the industries in the Punjab are facing acute shortage of gas throughout the year. Industrialists were risking everything to keep the wheel of economy running. However, the government was not paying heed to their problems due to which they have been pushed to the wall,” he lamented. “The industrialists are playing a vital role in strengthening the national economy and if industries suffer, it will destroy national economy.”

He said that the users of CNG-powered vehicles have an option to use petrol as alternate fuel but textile sector has no other option but gas.

He criticised the practice of resorting to such unilateral measures by gas companies without taking business community on board. He said such attitude will shatter the confidence of businessmen and investors and stressed that before considering any such move; the stakeholders should be consulted for finding out a win-win solution to all problems.

He said that this new act of indefinite gas loadshedding will cripple the industry altogether unless immediate action is taken by the government to resolve this very critical issue. The PTEA chairman said that Pakistani exports mostly depend on textiles and due to outage of gas; the country’s exports would not meet the target.

He emphasised that the government should ensure supply of gas to industries to avoid troubles in the production process.  He demanded uninterrupted gas supply to textile industry being the most important economic post of the national economy.