Energy crisis: APTMA threatens to close Punjab textile mills

LAHORE: The Punjab-based textile millers have unanimously decided to close their mills in protest of SNGPL unfavourable load management schedule, however a final decision will be taken at their high-powered meeting on Monday, sources told Daily Times on Saturday. 
APTMA Punjab leadership has rejected new gas load management schedule of the SNGPL and said that it was not possible to operate mills on one shift and lay off 600,000 workers of two-shift operations in the Holy month of Ramadan.
Further, the APTMA leadership has given two days to the government to review its decision, followed by another emergent meeting of the Punjab-based textile mills on 7th July to strategize the option of permanent closure of mills.
According to the APTMA spokesman, the Punjab-based textile millers have unanimously passed a resolution urging the government to continue with 24 hours a day energy supply and 14 hours a day energy supply will not be acceptable. 
The general body unanimously remorse that the government was forcing the APTMA to close down mills in Punjab permanently, which would leave one million workers jobless across the province. 
The SNGPL has issued new gas load management schedule to divert 250MMCFD gas to the government-owned power plants while depriving textile industry captive power plants, rendering 600,000 textile workers jobless during the month of Ramadan. 
The APTMA spokesman said the Punjab-based textile millers held an emergent meeting at the APTMA Punjab office, shouting out their sentiments against the SNGPL move and urging the leadership to stand up and announce a province-wide strike.  The member mills said that they would not let three million textile workers jobless. They said the Punjab-based textile mills are already facing a loss of Rs80 billion due to inter-province disparity in gas availability.
They further added that the Punjab-based textile mills will not accept 10 hours per day electricity and 18 hours per day gas load shedding for textile mills in Punjab. Already, they said, very low pressure gas supply is being made to the textile mills. 
They deplored that the government was lodging FIRs against textile millers instead of supporting them to avail maximum benefit of GSP plus facility. As many as 56 textile mills on independent feeders are facing 10 hours per day electricity load shedding for last one year and are closing down their operations one after another, they added.
APTMA spokesman said the Punjab-based textile industry will be totally unviable in case it is not supplied with 24/7 energy supply, including electricity and gas. About 40 percent plus production capacity of Punjab-based textile industry has already closed down operations, he lamented.
The APTMA spokesman said the APTMA leadership has expressed the hope that sanity would prevail in government circles and the Ministry for Petroleum & Natural Resources to withdraw anti-textile industry gas load management schedule immediately to save the future of three million textile workers in Punjab.

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