Amid the power crisis in Pakistan, the provincial government of Punjab on Saturday decided to enforce energy-conservation plans to tackle the chronic situation, local media reported.
Frequent load-shedding across the country has left the people to suffer sweltering high temperatures. The Shehbaz Sharif government has blamed its predecessor Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for the energy shortfall.
The measures are being imposed to reduce the shortfall between the supply and demand of electricity. The government notification said the morning hours must be utilized for business activities.
Sindh, on Friday, declared that all the markets and malls in the province will shut down by 9 pm except milk shops, bakeries, and dairy carriage vehicles to preserve electricity, effective immediately for one month, reported ARY News.
Following the steps of Sindh, Punjab markets will open early in the morning and close by 9 pm (local time) to save electricity, minimize prevalent power outages, and control the hike in fuel prices in the country.
Pharmacies, hospitals, bakeries, dairies, and gas stations will be excluded from the time constraints. Authorities are also considering closing restaurants and hotels early.
According to sources cited by Geo News, the energy-saving scheme will be implemented starting next week, and the restrictions under the first phase of the power-saving plan will be applied for two months.
Earlier this week, several Pakistan federal ministers urged the traders to adopt austerity measures to reduce the wastage of fuel and electricity.
This report about the government order comes amid Pakistan's mounting concerns over the growing energy crisis.
Due to Pakistan's inability to make payments to the Chinese power supplies, the country lies in the abyss of electricity outages which is disrupting life and business amid this unbearable heatwave.
They have shut down multiple plants because the Pakistani government has failed to pay dues to the tune of 300 billion rupees (USD 1.5 billion).
Ahmed Naeem Salik, a research fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, said that the current power generation capacity in Pakistan is 41,000 megawatts, while consumption is around 28,000 MW.
"We have 13,000 MW of extra electricity capacity, but still there is a lot of load shedding," he said, using industry lingo for supply interruptions. This, he said, "is mainly because we have to pay the loans [to Chinese companies] that we are unable to pay, and hence [Chinese] have stopped power production."
Adding to this, protest rallies and dharnas were carried out in parts of Sindh against the hike in fuel prices in Pakistan.
The protestors said a rise in petrol price will only lead to steeper inflation making the life of lower strata people more miserable. The protestors also threatened to intensify the stir if measures were not taken to control this spiralling inflation. (ANI)