Thousands of workers and industrialists of the textile industry on Saturday held protest rallies across the city and staged a huge demonstration against severe gas outages at the District Council Chowk.
Big rallies were staged at Khurianwala, Millat Road, Sargodha Road and other parts of the city. Protesters, carrying placards and banners, were chanting slogans like “Give us gas to run our factories and earn our livelihood”. They also set tyres on fire and burnt effigies of the country’s rulers.
Speaking to the protesters, Pakistan Textile Exporters Association Chairman Asghar Ali asked the government to ensure uninterrupted gas supply, which has been missing for the past seven weeks in Punjab, to keep industries running and enable their workers to make both ends meet.
A prolonged shortage of gas had crippled the textile industry, causing a loss of billions of rupees to the exporters, he said. “Gas load-shedding is on the rise, which will increase the number of sick units. The country urgently needs investment to run the wheels of economy,” he stressed.
Speaking on the occasion, Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Mian Zahid Aslam slammed the government, saying it had given lowest priority to the industry worth billions of dollars and put jobs of millions of workers at stake.
Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association Vice Chairman Zia Alamdar said the suspension of gas supply for the last seven weeks had brought the industrial wheel to a complete halt.
The textile industry leaders urged the government to take all necessary steps to pull them out of the crisis as the province might turn out to be a graveyard for the industry in the absence of energy.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 27th, 2013.
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