Industrialists protest against gas interruption and low pressure

Karachi, February 13, 2015 (PPI-OT): Industrialists of S.I.T.E Association of Industry, in Karachi staged a protest near Governor House on Friday in the wake of non-availability of gas supply to the industries led by President, Muhammad Jawed Bilwani.

Protesters were holding black flags and placards urging to resume gas supply. The pressure of gas provided to the industries has been considerably low from the past two days that has halted work at the industries whereas the gas supply was cut short for 13 days in January as well and 46 days since October 1, 2014, lamented Muhammad Jawed Bilwani President Site Association of Industry (SAI).

He said that SITE Industrial Area is the oldest and largest Industrial Area of Pakistan. It is on record that our great Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Founder of Pakistan laid the foundation-stone of the first industry on 26th September, 1947 situated in SITE Industrial Area where the first Gas Pipeline was laid but it is indeed a great irony that despite Sindh being the largest producer of Gas, its vital SITE Industries are starving for the most essential commodity and Raw Material – Gas.

With such low pressure of gas, it is impossible for industries to run their production and the labourers sit idle with heavy burden of wages on the industries resulting in not only failing to meet their export commitments in time due to passing away of the deadline, we are unable to make delivery on time and in this situation foreign buyers do not lift the goods and at the same time we will lose the valuable orders for the next season.

Gas pipeline was mainly laid out to provide gas to industries but from the same pipeline SSGCL has provided Gas to CNG Stations commercial, and Domestic Consumers. It is pertinent to state here, he said that while Industries need flow of Gas, the CNG Stations actually suck gas from these pipelines. In such a situation how can the industries get supply of gas.

He demanded dedicated distribution pipelines for Supply of Gas for Industries in SITE Industrial Areas which should be separate from other consumers.

He wondered how SSGCL gave permission for as many as 34 CNG Stations in the SITE Industrial Area placed close to each other in violation of mandatory distances required under the law, resulting in lowering of pressure to industries and other consumers despite the fact the vital industries including 100% export oriented industries were deprived of Gas which were not only earning huge amount of foreign for the nation but also providing millions of jobs.

Bilwani demanded that supply of gas to CNG Stations is separated from the gas pipeline laid out for the Industry so that the Industries get full flow of gas to run their production without any hitch and meet their export deadlines and till time a separate pipeline is not laid out, supply of gas to CNG and other consumers be stopped immediately.

In Pakistan Gas field was discovered in 1952 and Production of gas started in 1955. From 1955 to 1970 the government’s policy for gas utilization was for industry and power generation and in 1970, the share of households was only 2% while the share of gas for industry and power sector was 25% and 36.5% respectively.

In 70s, there was a shift in policy and gas was supplied to small towns and villages at a nominal rate and from 1988 onwards, gas supply was irrationally prioritized to the domestic sector. As a result of this change in policy, in 2012 the share of gas for households swelled to 21% while the share of gas for industry and power sector dropped to 23% and 28% respectively. Therefore he demanded that the industries are given first priority in supply of gas.

Bilwani said that again it is an irony that there was no implementation despite Article 158 of Constitution states: “Priority of requirements of natural gas for the province in which well head of natural gas in situated shall have precedence over other parts of Pakistan in meeting the requirements from the well-head, subject to the commitments and obligations as on the commencing day.”

He said that Sindh province which produces 70% of natural gas is deprived of gas and wondered where this Gas produced by Sindh is been supplied while the industries here are starving for gas which is again a great dilemma.

He expressed great surprise at the complete silence and no action against non-supply of gas to SITE Industries by the Sindh Government and those political parties who have a mandate from the lakhs of labourers employed in SITE Industrial Area who could be rendered jobless.

He expressed grave apprehension that if the SSGC does not provide Gas to the Site industries it will result not only in mass closures and flight of capital abroad leading to lakhs of workers becoming jobless causing great chaos and immense disaster.

He urged Governor Ishratul Ibad and Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah to grant them their due right.
Siraj Kassam Teli, Patron In Chief SITE Association of Industry cautioned that if low pressure of gas is continued, the industrialist will protest in front of the SSGC office.

For more information, contact:
Sindh Industrial Trading Estates Limited
Department of commerce and industries
Government of Sindh
Mr. Rasheed Solangi
Managing Director S.I.T.E Ltd
Manghopir Road, Karachi.
Phone: 32561214-15
Fax: 32561213

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