Gas curtailment for industries expected this winter due to lack of planning

HYDERABAD: Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Minister Asad Umar, while hinting at the curtailment of gas supply to industries in the coming winter season due to depleting reserves, has said that all-out efforts were being made to overcome the issue of gas shortage in the country.

“Gas consumption is much higher at around 6 billion cubic feet compared to present production, which is less than 4bcf,” the minister informed while addressing the representatives of chambers of commerce and SITE associations of Nooriabad, Kotri, Jamshoro and Hyderabad at a reception hosted by Ali Junejo in his honour at Hyderabad Gymkhana on Saturday.

At present, the minister informed, priority was being given to domestic consumers while all out efforts were underway to improve gas availability so that the same could also be provided to industrial and commercial sectors of the country.

In addition, he said, the government was also making efforts to rationalize the gas prices so that liquefied natural gas (LNG) could also be made available for consumption. “It could be possible only after the completion of required infrastructure, including the laying of pipeline. The government is making all-out efforts to clear bottlenecks in this regard,” he added.

Responding to complaints of the representatives of trade and industry organizations about the non-availability of electricity, the minister informed that the government would soon announce a “special package for industries”.

“Surplus electricity is available in the country and efforts are underway to bring reforms in energy sector, particularly in distribution system of DISCOs, so that the issue could be resolved at the earliest.”

He stated that remarkable progress had also being made for production of electricity from alternate sources, particularly wind, and the industrialists of the province could take advantage of this source.

About the issues being faced by the construction industry, Asad Umar said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was keen to give boost to this industry, which provides job opportunities to the people in around 40 sectors. A comprehensive package with maximum incentives for the construction industry was under consideration to achieve goals of rapid progress and prosperity, he added.

Responding to a demand for the development of infrastructure in industrial areas, the minister said the provincial governments were managing the industrial zones of their respective provinces and the federal government would welcome the proposals of development of infrastructure if it received the same from the province. However, he assured that issues related to the federal government, including the provision of electricity and gas to industrial areas, would be tackled amicably.

About health facilities, the minister said that after Covid-19, the provinces had realized the fact of forming effective combined strategies and better coordination to make health facilities available for the people.

The federal government has earmarked an amount of around Rs50 billion to introduce modern health facilities in order to meet the challenges of the diseases and pandemic like Covid-19, he informed, adding that the federal government was also in touch with the Sindh government and if the provincial government recommended, state-of-the-art health facilities would also be provided to the historic city of Hyderabad.

Salma Iqbal

Reporter - The Pakistan Daily

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