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Severe energy crisis affecting textiles sector
05
Jul '11
Severe power cuts, sometimes for over 12 hours a day, have forced several textile factory owners to close operations in Faisalabad, the cloth capital of Pakistan. As a result, several thousands of workers have become unemployed.

The warehouses of metal scrap dealers in Faisalabad's textile district are full with looms sold by factory owners, while labourers are found sitting idle waiting for the electricity to resume.

Power shortage is also adding pressure on the already debt-ridden Pakistan's economy. It is because the textiles sector contributes to around 60 percent of the country's export revenue.

Factory owners allege that during the last three years after the country returned to elected rule, the energy situation has gradually worsened causing power cut on a daily basis. There has also been a steep rise in the cost of power during the period, they add.

Industry analysts estimate that nearly 40 percent of the around 2,000 units in the Punjab province, which includes Faisalabad, have closed operations, leaving around 500,000 workers jobless. About 100,000 of them belong to Faisalabad.

In June this year, Pakistan faced an overall shortfall of 7,739 mw of electricity. Similarly, the total shortfall in gas supply to the textiles industry is nearly 400 cubic feet per day. This shortfall is being managed by cutting supply for hours to both domestic and industrial users.

Currently, only 80 percent of the country's electricity needs are met domestically, including those met through imported fuel.

Last year, the Parliament approved a constitutional clause which gave each province the first right to use its natural resources. This clause put Sindh ahead of Punjab for getting gas, needed for electricity generation.

Industry experts are demanding a uniform policy in the country, where every province can share equal opportunities and burden. However, they do not foresee any immediate relief from the problem and expect the power cuts to continue for at least seven more years.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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