LAHORE: The persistent gas crisis, which had shaken the roots of Punjab industries, has yet again stolen the limelight.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif took notice of the gas closure on Tuesday by Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and ordered its restoration; consequently, the gas company started providing gas to the textile industries, though only for four hours. Under the new textile policy, SNGPL was directed to provide gas round the clock to the industries.
“We are only demanding the provision of round the clock supply of gas for an affordable per unit cost to compete and increase textile exports of the country,” said All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) Chairman SM Tanveer at a press conference on Wednesday.
The provision of gas to Punjab textile industries was suspended on February 9, without any reasons. In retaliation, Aptma threatened to go on a strike, claiming that they were assured by the ministries for continuous gas supply in December last year.
As a reaction to the sudden supply disruption, the association members planned to close the units arguing that the sudden change in policies were damaging the medium and long-term plans to effectively make use of the GSP Plus status.
“The provision of gas is not only for the Aptma members, all stakeholders will benefit from the efforts of the association,” Tanveer added.
The industry currently is receiving 24 hours of electricity, but according to them, the per-unit cost difference is more than double.
The captive power plants generate electricity via gas at Rs8 per unit, whereas the unit cost of electricity in off-peak hours is Rs12 and for peak hours it goes up to Rs18.5 per unit.
“We want to operate our mills on gas during peak hours,” Tanveer said.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2015.
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