Hopes that the present government would be able to gain some sort of control to arrest the worsening power crisis in the country seem to be fading away.
Amid the chaos, the weaving industry in Faisalabad has threatened to close units after Eid due to prolonged hours of power outages that have adversely affected their business.
The owners of these units claim that the small and medium industries of Faisalabad were at the verge of collapse, leaving no option but to shut down units. They said the owners have to pay salary to their staff at a time when there is no production.
In Faisalabad, there are 250,000 power looms installed in 3,000 factories and 75,000 auto shuttle-less looms are installed in almost 1,000 factories. Thousands of families are linked with the weaving sector.
For a large part of the day, power looms in Faisalabad remain unproductive due to severe load-shedding, which lasts up to 12 hours, according to owners and workers.
Every passing day there are two to three millers who are closing their units to prevent the heavy losses due to load-shedding, they claimed.
The business climate has been deteriorating and industrialists are unable to make the exportable surplus to avail benefits of access to European markets under the Generalised Scheme of Preference Plus facility, they added.
“The electricity is available only six to eight hours a day, but the bill comes up to the cost of running the looms for 24 hours,” said Ali Mujtaba, a weaving industrialist, while talking to The Express Tribune. “As a result, several weavers have been forced to close their units.”
He said alternate sources of energy are very expensive and the use of generators pushes the input cost to Rs35 per unit against the normal Rs16 per unit, he added.
“The weaving industry is on the verge of collapse as textile exports have already started decreasing for the last two months,” said Council of Looms Owners Association Chairman Waheed Khaliq Raamy.
“The millers are frustrated due to unavailability and un-affordability of energy, causing them to close business down across the city.”
The millers have decided to hold protest in front of the Faisalabad Electricity Supply Company (FESCO) headquarter against prolonged electricity load-shedding, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2014.