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Gas, power outages: Glass industry in quagmire

LAHORE: Around fifty percent of glass industry has suspended its activities while the remaining units on the verge of closure due to gas and power loadshedding, the industry’s representatives told Daily Times Tuesday.

The worst hit are the industry in Punjab and NWFP, where SNGPL deals the supply while in Sindh there is no such issue.

They said 80 percent of the production process depends upon gas and eight units in Punjab and NWFP has suspended their industrial activity out of 16 industrial units due to complete gas closure by the Sui Northern Gas.

Around 20,000 people have become unemployed so far and if the current situation continued, the remaining industry would shut down thus increasing unemployment and lost of revenue to the government.

Chairman Pakistan Glass Manufacturers Association, (PGMA) Tariq Baig said entire developed world especially USA, Europe, China and India are encouraging glass industry, while the established Pakistani glass industry stands crippled due to gas closure, high taxation and load shedding.

He said the glass production furnaces in Pakistan, which have the capacities of 100-150 tonne per day production, were severely affected due to shortage of gas supply.

“Frequent power breakdowns forced the cooling and unscheduled closures in the furnaces resulting in wasted raw material, low quality of output and damage to the furnaces.”

He said entire developed world especially USA, Europe, China and India are encouraging glass industry, while the established Pakistani glass industry stands crippled due to gas closure, high taxation and load shedding.

An industry representative, Omar Baig said, “Glass industry is a continuous process industry and gas constitutes the lifeline of its production”.

The gas curtailment or disconnection is tantamount to throttling it to death and power loadshedding added fuel to the fire.

He said during winter, SNGPL and WAPDA carried out regular loadshedding and it played havoc with the glass industry.

Baig said glass manufacturers are forced to switch to the furnaces oil but the entire production-lines, glass making equipment, annealing and other sensitive machinery can only operate on gas.

There is zero production during gas load shedding while the glass industry is forced to continue meeting the total cost of inputs just to keep the furnaces alive, he added.

Another representative of glass industry said a total of 2,000 million metric cubic feet (MMCFD) of gas is available to Sui Northern per day. “The gas requirement for Punjab and NWFP industries is only 16 MMCFD.

He said the government should not bracket the glass industry with other industrial units because glass industry needs continuous gas supply.

SNGPL spokesman said the company prefers the domestic consumers and it is the reason the gas supply to the industry is suspended.

Source: Daily Times

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