The Punjab-based textile industry has lost 40 percent of production capacity after being exposed fast to unbearable electricity load shedding since 2011. According to the available data, the Punjab-based textile industry was exposed to four hours a day load shedding in 2011, followed by six hours a day in 2012 and 2013 and eight hours a day in 2014.
The incremental surge in load shedding for the Punjab-based textile industry is resulting into widespread unemployment besides a substantial drop in exports; particularly the industry has lost $1 billion since April 2014 and is likely to lose another billion dollars in case the adverse situation persists ahead. It may be noted that there was zero load shedding for textile industry before 2011 despite lingering phenomenon of load shedding starting from November 2007.
The industry is crying hard to get attention of the Prime Minister, Chief Minister Punjab and the Federal Textile Minister respectively. However, no tangible change in situation has so far taken place despite a positive response from all the three quarters. The PM had constituted a Ministerial committee on Textile, the Chief Minister Punjab had held marathon meetings with APTMA to sort out the energy problem and the Federal Textile Minister is running from pillar to post in search of electricity for the Punjab-based textile industry, housing over 70 percent of the total industry in the country.
However, it appears that the Ministry of Water & Power has focused its attention towards the domestic consumers by all means. One example is exemption to 40 feeders in seven circles from load shedding in LESCO jurisdiction from 2PM to 12PM since 31st October to 4th November 2014. Furthermore, another 70 feeders in the same seven circles of LESCO been exempted from load shedding totally for the same period.
It may be noted that the industry has been agitating the point that how the NTDC is unable to exempt the industry from load shedding when it can manage exemption during public holidays and cricket matches. According to them, the ministry policymakers are not serious in solving the energy problem of the Punjab-based industry, resulting into permanent closures of a large number of PEPCO-fed units so far.
The industry circles have urged the Prime Minister to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the Punjab-based textile mills during upcoming winter to save production, employment and exports in Punjab. If not, they added, the government would soon listen the casualties of more textile units in Punjab.