Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Suspension of gas supply: Punjab industries continue to suffer

Suspension of gas supply: Punjab industries continue to suffer

MULTAN  (December 28, 2010) : The industries in Punjab continued to suffer suspension of gas supply, as the manufacturing units across the province are receiving the supply just for half of the week, it was learnt.

The industrial sources told that the SNGPL had announced to restore the gas supply to half of the industry in Multan from 6pm on Thursday but it was possible after the suspension of supply to rest of industrial units in the city. Same is the case with the whole industry in the province, as half of the total 18,000 industrial units are forced to remain shut due to lack of gas supply throughout the week, they added.

The industrial sources said the SNGPL has divided the whole province in different zones and if half area is supplied with gas the rest of the half units are devoid of it. They said that the industry is going without gas for at least three and a half days coupled with the mismanagement of the SNGPL, which announces the schedule at the nick of time. As a result the industry starts operation further late as the workers are called, which takes enough time.

Syed Muhammad Aasim Shah of Value Added Textile Forum said hundreds of units' gas connections are disconnected individually and when the restoration announcement is made the SNGPL staff has to go to every unit for gas continuation which takes also a lot of time and industry suffers also in this sense.

PM had announced the supply for Punjab industries for five days, which have not implemented yet, said Shahid Naseem Khokhar, a noted manufacturer and MCCI president. He said only limited big industrial units are able to convert on alternative fuel, as it is at least 400 percent costly. He said some units run their operation of heating-up through burning wood or rice husk but it also needs a vast space which most of industrial units doesn't have. He said presently there is no unit in Multan, which has enough space to use alternate energy method. He said some of the industries have made their own arrangements for power generation through gas but those captive power generators are of no use these days due to unavailability of gas.

He said the industry gas supply should be prioritised in a situation when the country is already passing through unprecedented energy crisis. Therefore, he said, the industry has rejected gas curtailment plan out rightly and instead it has demanded complete exemption from gas loadshedding during winter season. He said that industrialists on one side have to invest to overcome energy issue on the other side they have to spend to meet their other expenses. He said that industrialists strongly opposed the gas loadshedding for industry, likely to multiply production cost.

He said the gas curtailment to industry is unacceptable, as it would not only undermine the production but may also result into massive lay off. He observed that the loadshedding has already caused a loss of over Rs 40 billion to the industrial sector and rendered a large number of daily-wage workers jobless. He said that over 40 per cent of the industrial units in Punjab run on gas and the rest on electricity. The use of furnace oil or diesel in place of gas has pushes up the cost of production four-fold.

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