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Tuesday July 23, 2024

Karachi traders oppose energy conservation plan of federal govt

By Our Correspondent
December 30, 2022

Concerned traders and businessmen in Karachi have expressed their opposition to the proposals of the federal government to ensure early closures of markets and other businesses for energy conservation.

The leaders of various traders’ associations in Karachi conveyed their reservations about the proposed energy conservation plan as they held talks on this issue with Sindh government representatives at the Commissioner’s Office on Thursday.

The Sindh government was represented on the occasion by Labour and Human Resources Minister Saeed Ghani, Excise and Taxation Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla and Industries Minister Jam Ikaramullah Dharjeo. The provincial ministers were assisted by Karachi Administrator Syed Saif-ur-Rehman, Commissioner Iqbal Memon and senior police officials.

The leaders of various associations of traders presented their recommendations for implementing the energy conservation plan. The Sindh government had assured the associations of traders, marriage halls and restaurant owners in Karachi that it would try to convince the relevant federal authorities to accept their suggestions about the curtailment of business hours in the city to conserve energy.

The labour minister said the federal government had proposed certain stringent measures, including curtailing the hours of markets, due to the current unsatisfactory economic situation in the country.

He assured the businessmen that the chief minister and K-Electric officials would be contacted to make sure that markets got an uninterrupted electric supply during the business hours. He said the federal government had suggested shutting the markets by 8pm daily while restaurants and marriage halls would be required to close their operations by 10pm.

Ghani said the provincial government would try its best to convince the federal authorities to adhere to the opinion of the majority of the businessmen in the city about the issue of curtailment of daily business hours.

He said the meeting had been convened as a consultative session to inform the traders about the stringent steps proposed by the federal government to avoid any untoward situation in the country due to the unsatisfactory state of the economy.

Ghani further said the relevant federal authorities had also been informed that the Sindh government would take a decision to cut the timings of the markets and other businesses in the city only after duly consulting the businessmen.

He said he had duly noted the suggestions put forth by the businessmen, and now talks would be held with the K-Electric and federal government on these recommendations. He expressed the hope that demands made by the concerned business owners would be accepted to a large extent.

He said consumers had to switch to the option of clean solar energy for electrifying their businesses and shops. He said vast reserves of coal in Thar and wind energy abundantly available in the province were being used to generate electricity.

He said energy resources available in the province were being exploited to generate up to 5,000 megawatts of electricity for the national grid.

Ghani assured the participants of the meeting that they would contact the federal government to make sure that the traders of Karachi got an uninterrupted electricity supply during their daily business hours.

The leaders of market associations suggested that shopping centres and retail stores should be allowed to remain open from 11am to 9pm. Some leaders of the traders demanded that markets in the city should be allowed to remain functional till 10pm on Saturdays only. The restaurant owners suggested that eateries in Karachi should be allowed to remain open till midnight while the home delivery service should remain functional round-the-clock.

They suggested that the government offices should be closed by 3pm while bank branches should limit their business hours to 4pm daily to conserve energy. The owners of the marriage halls suggested that wedding venues under the new regime would switch off their lights by 11pm while the same would be completely closed by midnight after the conclusion of the marriage ceremonies.

They also complained that in the past regimes of curtailed timings they had been arbitrarily arrested by police and district administration for violating the restrictions on operational hours of the wedding halls. The business leaders also suggested switching off the lights of the signboards to conserve electricity.