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December 21, 2011

‘Equal distribution could ease gas loadshedding’

World

AFP
December 21, 2011

LAHORE: Equal distribution of gas among all users could reduce gas loadshedding to two days and no province will have to face the gas shortage issue. The cut in gas supply to Faisalabad was causing one billion rupees loss daily to the economy and $3 billion annual loss to exporting sector.
These views were expressed by the participants in the Jang Economic Session, ‘Gas Crisis: What is Solution?’, held here on Tuesday. The participants in the discussion included: Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) senior vice-president Kashif Younis Meher, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) energy committee chairman Shahzad Ali Khan, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd (SNGPL) senior general manager Amjad Latif, Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) textile committee ex-chairman Zafar Iqbal Sarwar and All Pakistan CNG Association central vice chairman Majid Hussain Ansari.
Kashif Younis Meher said that industrial, commercial and domestic users were holding strikes due to gas shortage, asking politicians to avoid politicising the energy crisis. He suggested that domestic consumers should reduce their gas consumption for the next three years in order to ensure the needed gas load to the industrial and manufacturing sector.
Meanwhile, gas companies should provide gas saving equipment to them, he said. For mid-term solution, he added, the industrial users should increase their efficiency of gas utilisation.
He stressed the need to put aside all expediencies and take concrete steps for the Pak Iran gas pipelines project for a long term solution to the problem. Importing gas from Turkmenistan is impossible in the presence of India in Afghanistan, he maintained. The steel industry was the second largest exporting industry after textile and provided employment to 500,000 people but now 300,000 people were unemployed after the gas crisis, he claimed.
Shahzad Ali Khan said the government should complete the LNG import and Pak Iran

gas pipelines projects to meet the gas shortage. He said gas was being sold at half price in Pakistan as compared to the world. He said the government should continue the trend of subsidising the fertilizer sector to increase agriculture productivity, as farmers had reduced the DAP and urea utilisation after increase in its prices, which was negatively affecting productivity.
Now that the incumbent government had been into the power for last four years, it should accept responsibility for the energy crisis, rather than blaming the previous government. He suggested an increase in gas prices and to bring it at par with petrol and electricity tariff, to reduce its consumption.
Amjad Latif said that the SNGPL had supplied total available gas load to users while its consumption had increased in the winter season due to use of gas heater and geysers. He said that gas machineries of industrial users were outdated besides being inefficient. He called for the role of chambers and trade associations to establish a energy conservation cell and create awareness among consumers about the best utilisation of available gas.
Zafar Iqbal Sarwar said that the textile sector was facing gas loadshedding for 150 days a year, despite having massive share in national economy. He said the textile sector was not getting daily wagers for working three days a week.
He said that textile processing sector was facing huge losses due to gas closures, demanding equal gas tariff for every sector of the economy. Majid Hussain said the Punjab government had started CNG buses despite three-day loadshedding.
He said the gas companies had laid down the pipelines for domestic users on political grounds while no serious steps were taken for the Pak-Iran gas pipelines project.

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