LAHORE, May 31: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday expressed concern over power riots in Faisalabad, fearing violence might engulf other parts of the country if the government fails to take corrective measures.
In a statement issued here, LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said despite tall claims by the government, the electricity situation was going from bad to worse and forcing the people to take to the street.
Mr Sheikh said the frequency of the power outages was alarming enough to dent governance. He said the business community was unable to understand why the government did not present any energy solution in the last four years. He said the recent surge in unemployment graph and lawlessness was because of electricity shortage that had caused the closure of a large number of industrial units.
“The industry needs a continuous supply of electricity to keep the units operational and complete the export orders within the given timeframe but the exports are not up to the mark due to shortage of electricity. Pakistan has already lost a number of international markets and longer hours of power cuts would aggravate the situation,” he said.
He said cheaper and uninterrupted power supply was the only way to achieve economic targets. He also feared a surge in street crimes, saying law and order situation was bound to aggravate in the coming days as repeated power outages in the industrial estates were jacking up the graph of unemployment.
He said most industrial units had already reduced their working to single six-hour shift from the previous three shifts. This had led to increased level of raw material wastage, leaving production process non-profitable.
The crisis in industrial sector was not only causing flight of capital and relocation of industrial units to the countries like Bangladesh and Malaysia, but had also reduced government revenues drastically.
The LCCI head said the whole society was in the grip of frustration. “It is unfortunate that the authorities concerned are totally oblivious of the situation and subjecting the province to loadshedding and power cuts of 15-18 hours whereas in other parts of the country loadshedding is being carried out for a short time,” he said.—Staff Reporter