The suspension of electricity supply to industry during nights has been affecting industrial production in the export-oriented Sialkot city and has caused concerns among traders, industrialists and exporters. They feared that the situation could also result in a great decline in exports from Sialkot.

According to details, the Gepco has been implementing a plan to suspend electric supply to industry during nights (from 6pm to 4am) since the start of holy month of Ramazan to ensure smooth supply of electricity to people during Sehri, Iftari and Taraweeh timings.

Under the plan, the industry remains without electricity that result in stoppage of industrial production during night shifts in Sialkot factories.

The local traders, industrialists and exporters have raised their voice against, what they said, injustice by the government.

President Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) Fazal Jillani said that the Sialkot industries were already suffering from prolonged unscheduled loadshedding during day times. Former SVP of SCCI Mian Muhammad Anwar added that instead of facilitating the exporters by providing maximum electricity to them, but the government had halted the provision of electricity to Sialkot industry during nights.

He said “during the days we face harsh loadshedding of electricity and during nights we remain without electricity”.

Sialkot based central Chairman of Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) Ejaz A Khokhar added “Our industrial production was lying suspended during the nights due to non-availability of the electricity”.

Chairman Pakistan Gloves Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PGMEA) Muhammad Younas narrated that this nasty situation was also resulting in inordinate delay in timely dispatch of our export orders worth millions of US Dollars, as we were unable to send our export consignments in time to the foreign destinations, in this regard. President Markazi Anjuman Tajraan Sialkot Haji Mehar Ghulam Mujtaba said that the unending power cuts were badly hampering business and trade activities in Sialkot, saying that now the situation has become unbearable for the traders.

CULTIVATION: The sowing of tobacco crop is getting popularity among local growers and small farmers living in the far-off Bajwat bordering villages along the banks of Rivers Chenab and Tavi.

They said they were totally dependent on their seasonal crops including paddy and wheat crops before the September 2014 flash floods in the swollen River Chenab and Tavi, saying that the flash floods had ruined everything which pushed them into severe financial crisis.

Several local farmers and growers said that now the trend of sowing tobacco cop was gaining momentum in Bajwat-Sialkot far-off bordering villages. They said that tobacco crop gave maximum financial profit to them in a comparatively less period of time. They added that they grow tobacco and supply its different kinds to local markets after harvesting.

The growers including Shahid Hussain, Muhammad Jamil, Sufi Muhammad Ishaq, Ghulam Hussain, Allah Rakha, Sakeena Bibi and Muhammad Bashir informed that the land along the banks of rivers - Chenab and Tavi was much fertile, due to which the belts along the banks of these rivers were now becoming hub of producing best quality tobacco crop.