Sindh Industrial Trading Estate starving for gas and industries on verge of closure: Jawed Bilwani

Karachi, February 12, 2015 (PPI-OT): There is very low pressure of gas in the SITE Industrial Areas since last two days and it is a great dilemma that the SITE industries have remained without gas for 13 days in the month of January, 2015 and 43 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 due to passing away of the deadline 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.

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.

Gas pipeline was mainly laid out to provide gas to industries but from the same pipeline SSGCL has provided Gas to CNG Stations. 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.

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.

For more information, contact:
Sohail Shahzad Bhatti
Secretary General
S.I.T.E. Association of Industry
H-16, Textile Avenue, SITE, Karachi
Tel: +92-21-32562883, +92-21-32560705
Fax: +92-21-32560704

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