Amidst violent street protests sparked by a ballooning energy crisis in the country, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has rejected a proposal to increase the duration of load-shedding for the industrial sector.
The proposal was put forward by the ministry of water and power during an Energy Committee meeting at the Prime Minister Secretariat on Wednesday.
Officials from relevant ministries, CEOs of distribution companies (Descos) and representatives of the industrial sector attended the meeting.
Minister for Textiles Makhdoom Shahabuddin and All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Chairman Mohsin Aziz strongly opposed a new load-shedding plan proposed by the minister for water and power, Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, sources told The Express Tribune.
The APTMA chairman briefed the meeting on the energy shortfall faced by the textile industry. According to him, the textile sector is facing up to six hours of power outages daily which accounts for 25 per cent of total load-shedding.
“Even though the overall energy shortfall has come down to 4,000 megawatts from 6,000 megawatts there has been no decrease in power outages for the textile industry,” Aziz said.
“Dr Asim Hussain has saved the textile industry from collapse by providing us with natural gas,” he added and warned that if the power situation did not improve the textile sector would collapse.
The premier lauded the textile sector for its contribution to the national economy. Stressing on the need for equitable distribution of electricity, he directed that a load management committee be formed for this purpose.
The committee would ensure equitable distribution of electricity to each Desco and its onward distribution in respective regions in strict compliance with the scheduled load-shedding plan.
The committee has been empowered to take strict action against anybody hampering its efforts.
Additionally, the CEOs of all Descos were directed to curtail line losses and ensure that there is no load-shedding at Iftar and Sehri times during the holy month of Ramazan.
The meeting also discussed measures undertaken to improve electricity supply across the country.
According to an official statement, the committee was informed that one nuclear power plant has become operational and another is expected to start power generation soon. This would add more electricity to the national grid and help overcome the crisis.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2012.