Karachi industry slams increased loadshedding

Updated 11 Jul 2020

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Industry association's chief appealed to the premier to save industries from closure amid “no electricity at night and no gas in daytime.” — AFP/File
Industry association's chief appealed to the premier to save industries from closure amid “no electricity at night and no gas in daytime.” — AFP/File

KARACHI: Trade associations on Friday warned that gas diversion to K-Electric from industries, which are already facing three-day loadshedding in a week, will badly hamper production and export activities.

Site Association of Industry President Suleman Chawla has strongly protested over the decision of the federal government to provide gas share of general industries to KE and demanded to immediately withdraw it.

He appealed to the premier to save industries from closure amid “no electricity at night and no gas in daytime.”

Chawla said the government’s decision to close gas of general industries on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (July 10, 11 and 12) and provide the same to KE is in no way acceptable.

He said it is injustice with Karachi industries to provide their share of gas to KE for the purpose of power generation. In fact, the government should take a serious notice of prolonged loadshedding in the city together with action against power utility for its inefficiency, Chawla continued.

According to him, industries are still going through a crisis due to coronavirus and closure of power and gas would destroy them further.

Employers Federation of Pakistan President Ismail Suttur raised the question why industries have to suffer at the behest of failed management from top to bottom and ill-thought-out terms of settlements with the Independent Power Producers (IPPs), resulting in loadshedding amid lack of development of transmission and distribution lines.

Earlier the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) had inadvertently cut supply for industries in Hub without prior notification and now it is being diverted to the K-Electric. Where there is a need for rapid industrialisation, the government is instead halting production on which millions of white-collar jobs and billions in export revenue depend, he said.

Meanwhile, North Karachi Association of Trade and Industry President Nasim Akhtar expressed concern over the three-day gas shutdown in industries by SSGC and demanded uninterrupted supply.

He said due to the power loadshedding in industries, the production activities are already hampered. In such cases, shutting down the gas supply would completely stop the production process besides hitting exports badly.

K-Electric cuts off power to industries 3-4 days a week and has also announced an eight-hour shutdown of factories. Similarly, the SSGC plans to cut off gas supply to industries thrice a week. Unavailability of both the utilities would make operations impossible, he said. Akhtar demanded to withdraw the decision of three days’ gas loadshedding.

Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA) Chairman Sheikh Afzal Hussain said export activities for leather with allied commodities/sectors located at Korangi Industrial Area, in particular, are severely being affected as a result of KE loadshedding.

Tanning industry is already in a turmoil owing to Covid-19 and lacking export orders, he said.

Despite hike in prices of electricity, the leather industry is facing power breakdowns and is unable tomeet the export target and execution of in-hand orders, he added.

Afzal urged the prime minister toensure supply of electricity to Karachi as well as the Korangi industrial area without interruption, so that export activities would continue without.

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2020