LAHORE -  The Lahore Electric Supply Company, within 24 hours of the finance minister commitment of zero-loadshedding for industrial units during his budget speech on Friday, has sent a notice to the industry for power supply suspension of around 10 hours during Ramadan.

The textile industry has shown concern over the government’s move to observe almost 10-hour loadshedding in industrial units during Ramazan despite finance minister promise of 24-hour power supply to the industry. They said that notice served to the industry by LESCO, one-day after the budget speech, has warned the industrial units to close their operations from 6:30pm to 4am and in case of violations, the power supply would be disconnected for the whole month of Ramazan.

Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association Chairman Adil Butt said Pakistan’s exports had continued to fall for a long time, and the government proposed loadshedding plan for industry would cause further decline in Pakistan’s exports as the exporters would not be able to meet the export deadlines on time.

Terming it as another setback for the economy, the PHMA chairman said that without power supply, production activities would come to a halt in industries, thus taking a toll on the national economy. Adil said that due to insufficient power supply, industry was already operating far below its actual capacity, and long hours of loadshedding during Ramazan would further dent its manufacturing activities.

He urged the federal government to maintain exemption of loadshedding to the industry’s major consumers on independent feeders during Ramazan. LCCI former vice president Kashif Anwar said the proposed 10 hours loadshedding would force the industry to close down one shift and lay off thousands of workers across the province. This will be unfair to the labourers ahead of Ramazan. He said the total load of industrial units on independent feeders could easily be managed by the Ministry of Water and Power in order to ensure smooth operations of industry.

Terming energy as the lifeline of Pakistan’s economy and most vital for the industrial development of the country, Kashif said it was unfortunate that the government could not make any comprehensive plan to cope with the rising energy demands.

He said the energy sector of Pakistan was still infested with many problems, as the ever-increasing demand for growth, increasing transmission and distribution losses due to outdated power network, electricity theft, and seasonal reductions in the availability of hydropower had worsened the situation.