Industries threaten mass protest against gas supply shutdown

Industries threaten mass protest against gas supply shutdown

KARACHI: Industries have threatened the government of across the board protests against suspension of gas supply, which halted industrial activities and is affecting exports.

Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) and Industrial Town Associations, while expressing deep concerns over suspension of gas supply to the industries in Karachi, stated that all the industries were almost closed and the pressure was zero, resulting in bringing the production activities to a complete standstill which would give a serious blow to the exports by terribly affecting the performance of export-oriented as well as general industries, besides triggering massive unemployment and creating chaos.

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In a joint statement, KCCI along with Site Association (SAI), Korangi Association (KATI), F.B Area Association (FBATI), North Karachi Association (NKATI), Site Superhighway Association (SSAI) and Bin Qasim Association (BQATI) appealed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Energy Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to take notice of the situation and look into the possibility of supplying RLNG to SSGC for domestic usage as being done in case of SNGPL so that the gas crisis being suffered by the industries in Karachi could be averted.

They stated that the business & industrial community totally rejects gas supply curtailment announced by the SSGC and the Karachi Chamber along with Industrial Town Associations will shortly announce the future plan of action if relief was not provided immediately which may even lead to triggering across the board protests.

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Referring to SSGC’s statement in response to a joint press release issued on November 11, 2022 by KCCI and all seven industrial town associations, they said that a meeting was held between SSGC and federally constituted committee comprising representatives of industries from Karachi who gave numerous suggestions, of which one of the suggestion was to either close down gas supply to industries for two day a week or carry out gas load shedding for eight hours a day so that SSGC could maintain its line pack and the industries receive gas for 16 hours a day at required pressure so that they could keep on operating efficiently.

However, this unfortunately, was not done and later on, without taking the stakeholders on board, SSGC issued a notification/ letter to industries about suspension of gas supply which contained several ambiguities as in the said letter, SSGC has issued a caution for future as well by saying that every year gas supply will remain suspended. Subsequently, it has also been notified that 50 percent of gas supply to captive power plants will also be curtailed without explaining that what will happen to those industries who do not have KE connection or any other source and the process of gas supply suspension to general industries has also not been properly explained.

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SSGC must refrain from giving misleading statements in the media by sharing those decisions which were neither discussed nor agreed upon by the federally constituted committee in any of the meetings held to discuss gas crisis, KCCI and Industrial Town Associations urged, adding that several meetings were held in this regard but without taking us into confidence, SSGC has issued improper notification.

KCCI and Industrial Town Associations, while once again urging the government to take notice, stated that the overall situation was really alarming in Karachi which would terribly affect industrial performance, exports and have a deep negative impact on the economy due to rampant unemployment as suspension of gas for three consecutive months would obviously cause massive layoffs and massive reduction in exports.

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