LAHORE, June 15: The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) has expressed wonder at the continuation of the old discriminatory attitude towards the Punjab-based textile industry also by the new government.

“Textile mills based in Punjab are on the verge of destruction, as electricity cut has increased to 12 hours a day on the one hand and gas supply has decreased to twice a week on the other,” an APTMA spokesman said on Saturday.

Textile mills in the province faced 10 to 12 hours electricity loadshedding on June 14 which was just for four hours a day in 2012 and zero loadshedding in June 2011. Similarly, gas supply has also been reduced to two days a week on June 14, which was five days a week both in 2012 and 2011.

“As a result, the industry is unable to keep operations afloat and workforce of two work shifts is being laid off with 50 per cent production cut is no more letting the industry to meet export commitments.

“The industry is unable to understand whether the government is serious in continuity of textile industry in Punjab to achieve economic growth, earn foreign exchange and ensure jobs of millions of workers in the province.

“The textile industry is mainstay of the economy, creating both forward and backward agricultural linkages and the cotton belt is likely to face the brunt in case the industry suffers. It is highly unfortunate that the textile industry is facing such a crisis-like situation in a country which is fourth largest cotton producer and a leading exporter of home textile in the world,” said the spokesman.

“Such an anti-industry policy of the government is sending wrong signals to the international markets and fate of 15 million textile workforce, directly and indirectly linked with industry, is in doldrums.

“It is an irony that textile industry in other provinces is being supplied with seven days a week gas supply, enabling the mills to continue uninterrupted operations for 24/7. The Punjab government should respond to the situation and save the industry from unprecedented energy shortage. The entrepreneurs in Punjab have already started thinking seriously of shifting their businesses to other provinces for smooth operations,” said the spokesman and urged the prime minister, the Punjab chief minister, federal minister for water and power besides federal minister for petroleum and natural resources to address the issue on priority and ensure uninterrupted electricity and gas supply to industry for continuation of mills operations and keep the workforce employed.