Karachi industry hit by massive loadshedding

Updated June 27, 2020

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Many units have shut down night shift, others might follow. — AFP/File
Many units have shut down night shift, others might follow. — AFP/File

KARACHI: As Karachi residents continue to face massive power failures, K-Electric has now extended the scope of loadshedding towards the city’s industrial sector by conducting seven to eight hours power cuts.

Industries in different areas are facing various durations of power breakdowns, starting from from 11pm to 6am, 12am to 7am and 12am to 8am.

According to industrialists, many units have closed down night shift production owing to no power while others might follow suit. Closure of the night shift would hit over 30 per cent of total production of the manufacturer, they added.

North Karachi Association of Trade and Industry President Naseem Akhtar said loadshedding is being carried out on the pretext of furnace oil shortage while KE’s 80pc power generation depends on natural gas and RLNG. He recalled that a week ago, KE authorities had assured industries not to carry out loadshedding, but then suddenly started it on an hour’s notice.

The eight-hour loadshedding would affect 35pc of production and hit exports, he said, urging Prime Minister Imran Khan to save Karachi from KE’s anti-industry policy. “We were already struggling to survive the Covid-19 threat,” Akhtar added.

Many units have shut down night shift, others might follow

Similarly, Korangi Association of Trade and Industry President Sheikh Umer Rehan urged KE to end loadshedding from 12am to 8am in the industrial area as power interruption is causing drastic effects on production and exports.

He said KE’s claim regarding unavailability of furnace oil and gas for loadshedding raises questions over the performance of the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.

Site Association of Trade and Industry (SAI) Chairman Suleman Chawla commented that production units in the area are facing loadshedding from 12am to 7am.

He said a few days ago, KE authorities had warned about five days of loadshedding for eight hours in the Site area, which is going to end on Sunday but now “we are getting intimation from KE that it would be extended to July,” he added.

Chawla remarked that exporters would not be able to meet timely shipments due to closure of one shift while local supplies of goods would also face problems.

Sindh Minister for Industries and Com­m­erce and Anti-Corruption, Jam Ikram­ullah Dharejo, in a statement said the Sindh government is serious about resolving legitimate issues of the industrialists but this could not be solved without the positive role of centre.

He feared power outages would lead to an alarming rise in unemployment in the industries and urged the federal government to immediately resolve the issue. The prime minister should take immediate steps and if it’s not resolved, the situation may become more serious, Dharejo added.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2020