Trade warns of power riots
LAHORE, Jan 19: The government will not be able to control the situation likely to be triggered in Punjab by demonstrations and strikes called by angry industrial workers against their retrenchments as a result of continuous gas suspension and power outages.
The consensus was reached at a meeting of office-bearers of trade and industrial associations with officials of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Saturday.
The meeting was participated by LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar, Senior Vice-President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh and Vice-President Mian Abuzar Shad besides representatives of Lahore Township Industrial Association, Ferozepur Road Industrial Association, Katar Bund Road Industrial Association, Kahna Kacha Industrial Association, Anjuman-i-Tajiran Pakistan, Qaumi Tajir Ittehad, Anjuman-i-Tajran Badami Bagh Auto Market, Township Traders Association, Pakistan Auto Parts Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Anjuman-i-Tajran Urdu Bazaar, Brandreth Road Traders Association and others.
After holding discussions with the trade and business associations, the LCCI president warned the government of more industrial closures in Punjab if it failed to stop power outages and restore supply of gas to the industry.
“Industrial production has already gone down by 50 per cent in Punjab only because of gas and electricity suspension and the remaining is paying a very high cost for keeping the industry’s wheel on the run. The situation has reached the point that international donors have started showing their reluctance in rescheduling Pakistan loans,” he said.
The industry needed continuous supply of electricity to complete the export orders well within the given timeframe but only because of the shortage of electricity the exports have not been up to the mark. Pakistan had already lost a number of international markets while the condition of both local and foreign investment had also been precarious.
“Cheaper and uninterrupted power supply is only way to achieve economic targets set for the year 2013 but neither the government is sharing its future plans nor paying any heed to the difficulties being faced by the trade and industry in Punjab.
“It is astonishing that on one hand the government circles are talking of economic stability in 2013 while on the other they are not sharing any kind of roadmap to achieve this goal,” said the LCCI president while expressing the apprehension of a surge in street crimes.
“The law and order situation is bound to aggravate in coming days as repeated power outages in industrial estates is jacking up the graph of unemployment and is particularly hitting hard the daily wagers. Most of industrial units have reduced their working to single six-hour shift from the previous three shifts system. This has led to increased level of raw-material wastage leaving production process non-profitable. Now the leading industrial units are experiencing losses despite being managed professionally.
“The crisis in industrial sector is causing flight of capital and relocation of industrial units to the countries like Bangladesh and Malaysia,” said Mr Iftikhar while urging the president and the prime minister to take note of the grave situation and act promptly to save industrial and social fabric of the country.