Monday, December 13, 2010

Punjab industry hit hard by severe gas crisis

Punjab industry hit hard by severe gas crisis

FAISALABAD: The gas supply to industrial units in the Punjab has been suspended till further orders and scores of units have been closed for the last four days, rendering thousands of workers unemployed.

General Manager of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited, Rehan Nawaz, said the gas supply to industrial units in the Punjab had been stopped till further orders, and would be restored after meeting the domestic demand.
He said because of severe cold weather, gas consumption had increased, worsening the gas shortage. Therefore, the gas supply had been halted to over 1,300 industrial units.
Rehan Nawaz said the cold wave had increased gas consumption in the northern and central areas by 200 million cubic feet over the past two days due to which the areas beyond Jhelum had not been receiving gas. He said the supply had been stopped to big industrial units to provide gas to domestic consumers in these areas, which had helped save 50 million cubic feet gas.

He said that another meeting of the Gas Load Management Committee will be held Monday (today), which would plan gas load management. Meanwhile, over 25,000 workers have been retrenched by factories in Faisalabad during the last one month due to excessive gas and electricity outages, our sources learnt here.
The textile sector in this populous industrial city has been badly hit by three-day gas suspension to processing and sizing mills while many textile mills have closed their one shift. The worst-hit are powerloom workers who have been rendered jobless in large numbers due to closure of around 100,000 powerlooms. Besides, exporters are experiencing a colossal financial loss, as they could not export textile products, resulting in cancellation of orders.

Meanwhile, a number of CNG stations in Faisalabad were denied gas supply even for the third day Sunday due to low gas pressure while some stations continued supply at low pressure. Electricity supply also remained continually disrupted.
Owners and workers of industrial units in Faisalabad protested outside their mills. A protest session, held under the Labour Qaumi Movement, demanded the government to take immediate steps to restore the supply to industrial units.
Value Added Textile Forum Chairman Khurram Mukhtar declared the suspension of gas supply as extremely unfair. He said that gas stoppage would destroy the textile industry. He said millions of workers had been left jobless while production had declined by 70 per cent, which has made it impossible to fulfill the export orders on time.
Regional Chairman of the All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association, Faisalabad, Saeed Sheikh, Anjuman Tajiran President Shahid Razzaq Sakka, All Pakistan Cotton Powerlooms Association Chairman Ch Abdul Razzaq and other trade leaders demanded the government to take practical measures to save the textile industry.
Meanwhile, all CNG stations in Bahawalpur region remain closed, creating troubles for transporters and vehicle owners. The CNG association has announced its course of action against the SNGPL against its alleged discriminatory policy in the Bahawalpur region, and said petrol pump owners would also join the protest.

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