LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry has urged the government to complete all water and hydropower projects in the shortest possible time and also start construction of Kalabagh Dam without further delay as energy crisis is getting tall with every passing day. The policy makers should think about the near future when electricity demand would reach over 30,000 MW.
In a statement issued here Tuesday, LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that the timely completion of hydropower projects including Dasu, Diamir Bhasha and Kalabagh was vital for mitigating water and power shortfall.
Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that the government should also ensure equal distribution of electricity and gas throughout the country as the province of Punjab is the worst hit by the energy shortage.
The LCCI President said that due to longer hour power cuts and unavailability of gas the investment scenario has spoiled in the province and so much so existing industrial units have curtailed their productions.
He said that the electricity and gas consumers of Punjab continue to suffer from unjust and prolonged load shedding. He said that the acute electricity and gas shortage has not only crippled the trade and industry but has also brought widespread unemployment and poverty.
Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that the consumers of the efficient distribution companies with lowest line losses and the highest recovery ratio are being treated unfairly.
He said that Punjab contributes nearly two thirds to the GDP of Pakistan. Yet Punjab is being made the worst victim of injustice.
The LCCI president said the private sector was engine of the growth and in the developed countries it is facilitated to the maximum but in Pakistan circumstances are quite other way around.
He said that LCCI has repeatedly warned the government of massive lay-offs and industrial closures if it fails to immediately stop power outages but people sitting on the helm of the affairs are playing the role of silent spectators.
The LCCI President said that the government should understand that economic well being is a must for democracy. Unemployment, price-hikes, industrial closures always gives birth to lawlessness and anarchy. Therefore, the government should understand the ground realities and reset its priorities regarding provision of electricity to the industry.
Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that the industry needs continuous supply of electricity to keep the units
operational and to complete the export orders well within the given timeframe but only because of the shortage of electricity the exports are not up to the mark.
He said that Pakistan had already lost a number of global markets and the new power cuts would further aggravate the situation.
LCCI president said that dependence on conventional resources of power generation was the biggest reason of deepening energy crisis therefore government has to complete hydropower projects at the earliest and should also allocate sufficient funds for construction of Kalabagh Dam in the Federal Budget of upcoming financial year.