LAHORE, May 26: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Saturday demanded of the government to implement decisions of Energy Conference-2012 and ensure adequate and equal supply of electricity throughout the country.
At the LCCI Executive Committee meeting, LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh, Senior Vice-President Kashif Younis Meher and executive members said despite a consensus decision at the energy conference held on April 9, 2012 and a solemn pledge by the prime minister for equitable loadshedding across Pakistan, electricity consumers in Interior Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and especially Punjab continued to suffer `unjust’ and prolonged loadshedding.
They said acute electricity and gas shortage had not only crippled the trade and industry but was also causing widespread unemployment and poverty in the country. They said consumers of the efficient distribution companies with lowest line losses and highest bill collection were being treated unfairly by not only being subjected to worst loadshedding, but also by paying for the losses of inefficient companies through cross subsidies.
They said it was very unfortunate that loadshedding in Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Lahore was 10 to 18 hours while in Hyderabad four to eight hours, Karachi two hours, Nawabshah six to eight hours, Peshawar six to 10 hours, Quetta four to eight hours, Rawalpindi eight to 14 hours and Sukkur six to eight hours.
They said the recovery of the bills in Faisalabad was 99.8 per cent, Gujranwala 98.8pc, Lahore 98.1pc while in Hyderabad it was 59.1pc, Karachi 85.6pc, Peshawar 78.4pc and Quetta 41pc.
They said the line losses in Peshawar were 35 per cent, in Hyderabad 34pc, Quetta 18pc, Lahore 13pc, Gujranwala 12pc, Faisalabad 11pc and Islamabad 10pc.
They said Punjab contributed nearly two-thirds to the GDP of Pakistan. Punjab pays for 80 per cent of electricity bills and gets only 60pc of electricity units. Yet Punjab was being made the worst victim of injustice in this regard.
They said though the premier at the energy conference had pledged to reduce and equalise loadshedding throughout the country, the situation had not improved. “The prime minister also had instructed the federal authorities to increase the gas supply to power generation companies, which did not happen,” LCCI chief Irfan Qaisar Sheikh said.
He said prolonged loadshedding was hitting all sectors of economy including trade, industry and agriculture. The LCCI president said the private sector was engine of growth and in the developed countries it was facilitated to the maximum but in Pakistan circumstances were quite the other way round.
He said the LCCI had repeatedly warned the government of massive layoffs and industrial closures if it failed to immediately stop power outages but people at the helm were playing the role of silent spectators.
He said the government would not be able to control the situation triggered by the demonstrations and strikes called by the angry industrial workers against their retrenchments as a result of these power outages. “How the government will establish its writ and from where it will collect revenues to run its day-to-day affairs when the industrial wheel is coming to a grinding halt,” he added.
The LCCI president said the government should understand that economic wellbeing was a must for democracy and the unemployment, price-hike, industrial closures always gave birth to lawlessness and anarchy. Therefore, the government should understand the ground realities and reset its priorities regarding provision of electricity to the industry.