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Pakistan: Tough times for Faisalabad weavers

Weavers in Faisalabad, Pakistan, have threatened to close units after Id due to prolonged hours of power outages that have adversely affected their business. In Faisalabad, there are 2,50,000 power looms installed in 3,000 factories and 75,000 auto shuttle-less looms are installed in almost 1,000 factories. Thousands of families are linked with the weaving sector.

For a large part of the day, power looms in Faisalabad remain unproductive due to severe load shedding, which lasts up to 12 hours. Every day at least two or three units shut down to prevent heavy losses due to load shedding. Owners have to pay salary to their staff at a time when there is no production.

The electricity is available only six to eight hours a day, but the bill comes up to the cost of running the looms for 24 hours. As a result, several weavers have been forced to close their units. So industrialists are unable to use the exportable surplus for gaining the benefits of access to European markets under the GSP Plus facility.

Alternate sources of energy are very expensive and the use of generators pushes the input cost to Rs 35 per unit against the normal Rs 16 per unit.