The Punjab chapter of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) has now warned that there would be massive unemployment if the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) discontinued gas supply to textile mills in Punjab, Pakistani newspapers have reported.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore, APTMA (Punjab) chairman AamirFayyaz said that increased power cuts to the textile mills would force their closure leading to massive unemployment in the sector that has already lost 2 lakh jobs over the last five years.
Fayyaz was responding to a decision of the state-owned Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL) ondisconnection of gas supply to textile mills “any time” in the wake of winter season and growing pressure on limited resources.
Raising the spectre of massive unemployment, Fayyaz lamented that gas supply to the industry had already been brought down to 17 per cent from 25 per cent in the month of November. “How would textile workers run their homes without jobs?” he asked, adding that already 200,000 textile workers have lost jobs in the last five years.
“Actual gas consumption of Punjab based textile industry is equal to 60 mmcfd, which is 5 per cent of 1,200 mmcfd,” he said and posed a question: “Do we not deserve even 5 per cent of gas supply?”
He also slammed the Government over poor cotton crop this time, saying that nearly 40 mills in the province have closed down in the province over the last four months due to poor crop production and what he called the growing apathy of the government towards their plight.
Pakistan’s textile industry was already reeling under the pressure of a severe crop failure and had lost $800 million worth exports this year, the Aptma official claimed accusing the government of turning a blind eye towards the sector.
He also blamed the government for 40 per cent reduction in cotton crop, saying that there was no proper research, which has resulted into supply of substandard seed to farmers. “The government has blamed the weather for crop failure instead of conceding its failure,” he said claiming that Aptma was paying Rs 700 million annually for research on cottonseed, “which is of no use”.
Expressing the growing angst of the sector, towards unfulfilled promises by the government, he said member mills have lost hope altogether and are ready to sell their units to property developers or convert them into warehouses