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PESHAWAR: Business community here on Saturday expressed grave concern over the decision, suspending gas supplies to industries and CNG sector in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from next week and out-rightly rejected it and calling the move against the constitutional rights of the province wherein the gas is producing in surplus quantity.

The reservations came during a meeting of industrialists who met with Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Sherbaz Bilour in the chamber house here.

The industrialists informed the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) has issued a notification regarding suspension of gas supplies to general industries and CNG sector in name of load management w.e.f September 13, 2021 till improvement of the situation in KP province, which is unacceptable to the business community.

Sherbaz Bilour while speaking on the occasion asked to immediately withdraw the decision of gas suspension to industries and CNG sector in KP, otherwise, the business community will go for agitation and protest against this decision. He said the gas and electricity as prime utility and lifeline for industries, halting them, is tantamount to bringing stagnation in industrial growth.

The chamber president went on to say that the industrial growth has already been slowed down in the prevalent Covid-19 scenario, while disruption of gas supply in industrial areas would further bring negative impacts on production with outfall to likely delay export orders as well as domestic supply of goods in the long run. KP is producing a surplus gas against the total consumption, despite the fact, the industries are not fully supplying this important utility, which is a sheer violation of the article 158-A, of the constitution of the country that has guaranteed that the area has the first right to fully exploit its natural resources.

Furthermore, he elaborated that the gas consumption of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is around 200 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) against the total production of approximately 400 mmcfd gas and 830 tons liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) on a daily basis.

Sherbaz Bilour also expressed grave concern over unannounced and hours-long electricity load shedding to commercial and industrial consumers, asking the department concerned to ensure uninterrupted power supply to flourish businesses and industries, which are the major source toward contributing into the national economy at optimal level.

On the occasion, the SCCI president demanded of the Federal Minister for Energy, Hammad Azhar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Petroleum, Tabish Gohar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and other relevant high officials concerned to take immediate notice of gas and electricity suspension to industries and ensure uninterrupted supply of these major utilities in order to promote industrial development in the province.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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