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Industrialists of seven industrial estates have postponed further protest program on the assurance of Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) management to take appropriate measures and improve gas supply. The SSGC assured the industrialists of restoration of the supply of 50mmcfd from KEPTO power plant, and maintained that the gas would be supplied to the industries through load management.

The industrialists requested the SSGC to revoke the decision to enforce 50 percent curtailment of gas to captive power units. The SSGC management agreed to this request put forward by the KIF representatives, since the new 12" dia x 46-km pipeline project from Rehman Gas Field has been commissioned.

The industrialists argued with the SSGC to withdraw notifications issues to the industrial units that were consuming more gas than their allocations.

The SSGC management explained to the industrialists that such Gas Sales Agreement (GSA) violations would create shortage of gas for other consumers especially the domestic sector.

On insistence of the representatives of the industrial bodies, the SSGC agreed to review on case by case basis of the industries' gas allocation violations and warned that this will increase shortage in domestic supplies.

Leading industrialists including Siraj Teli, Zubair Motiwala and Jawed Balwani participated in the talks with the SSGC management that comprised of, among others, Mohammad Wasim, Acting MD, Saeed Larik, SGM (Distribution) and Brigadier Mohammad Abuzar (R), DG (Security Services).

Earlier, the first round of the talks between the officials of the SSGC and the industrialists had failed, earlier in the day. While thousands of industrialists and industrial workers gathered in front of the SSGC head office on Monday and stage demo and sit-in and demanded restoring gas supply with full pressure to keep industrial wheels moving.

Industrialist Javed Balwani told that seven industrial zones of the city are closed due to gas outage. Affectees from SITE, Korangi, North Karachi, Federal B Area, Bin Qasim, Landhi and Super Highway Industrial Zones were present in the protest.

He noted that Karachi was constantly being victimized despite contributing more than 65 to 70 percent revenue to the national exchequer, the city is constantly being mistreated.

If Karachi stops contributing, the government will not be able to meet its expenditure. Some people say Karachi city is mini Pakistan and business and industrial hub but I always say and believe that Karachi is Pakistan and without Karachi there is no Pakistan, he added.

Bilwani expressed that the industry is already on ICU and nothing is going in the favor of industry, the industrialists were repeatedly demanding to provide gas so that ailing industry would be able to recover from depression.

He urged the government to take stock of the depressing situation and adopt measures to save the industry from further cave.

The demonstrators warn that if no positive step is taken in this regard manufacturers and exporters will be constrained to close down their factories which will not only cause un-employment but also be a great loss to the national ex-chequer.

They averred that non-supply of gas as well as gas low pressure is also causing heavy damage to the industries. Meanwhile, Minister for Industries and Commerce & Cooperative Department, Jam Ikramuallah Dharejo commended the efforts of Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah and his team to end industrialists protests against the gas shutdown and demanded to the federal government that it should stop discrimination with Sindh and ensure timely and complete supply of gas to industrial and domestic consumers, because of the federal government's poor policies that shut down industries in Sindh, leaving thousands of homes cold and poverty and unemployment have increased manifolds.

He said due to the load shedding of gas and electricity, the lives of the people of Sindh have become miserable the Sindh Government is with them in favor of legitimate demands of industrialists.

He said that the federal government should take sensible nails and take positive steps to restore the industries in Sindh and ensure gas and electricity supply in the province as well.

He said that the industrial activities depended on proper supply of gas and electricity to the industries and without these facilities no sector could make progress, he added.

Sindh Minister for Energy Imtiaz Ahmed Sheikh said that the government of Sindh fully supports the protest of industrialists over the crisis of shortage of gas supply to industries in Sindh.

This he said while talking to members of business and industry community who came to meet him today at his office. Imtiaz Ahmed Sheikh also contacted Federal Secretary Petroleum and Managing Director of Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) and informed them about the prevailing gas crisis in Sindh and demanded for the immediate supply of required and approved gas quota to Sindh and specially to the industries.

Imtiaz Ahmed sheikh said that the present gas crisis was due to the incompetence of the federal government. He informed that Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah had also written a number of letters to the federal government in his letters, the CM Sindh had demanded for the supply of required gas quota to Sindh as per the constitution of Pakistan.

He said that CM Sindh also raised gas shortage issue in the meeting of Council of Common Interests (CCI), but federal government had nothing for the solution of the grievances of Sindh province.

He said that due to the incompetence of the federal government, not only the domestic consumers and the owners of CNG stations are facing acute shortage of gas but now the situation has fallen so bad that the industrialists are also gathered at the doors of the SSGC for the protest over shortage of gas facing by them. He stressed the federal government for the immediate solution of gas crisis in Sindh. He demanded the Prime Minister of Pakistan to intervene in the matter and solve the crisis through his personal interest, so that the wheel of the industries can run smoothly by securing the employment of the labourers.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020

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