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Monday, August 02, 2021

In Punjab, Industry fumes at 3-hr notice for shutdown: ‘we pay bills, made to suffer’

More than 5,000 large-scale units under the Central Zone — in industrial towns of Ludhiana, Khanna, Amloh, Mandi Gobindgarh and Sirhind — were forced to observe a two-day weekly off starting from Thursday 2pm.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana |
Updated: July 2, 2021 4:54:57 am
PSPCL authorities claimed that Thursday's immediate shutdown helped them free up 1300MW of power that could be supplied to people of the state. (File Photo)

Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL)’s decision to start imposing two days of weekly off on heavy industries in designated industrial areas to deal with the state’s electricity crunch has not gone down well with many industrial unit owners in the Central Zone, many of whom complained that they were not given enough notice by the power board.

More than 5,000 large-scale units under the Central Zone – in industrial towns of Ludhiana, Khanna, Amloh, Mandi Gobindgarh and Sirhind – were forced to observe a two-day weekly off starting from Thursday 2pm. PSPCL authorities claimed that Thursday’s immediate shutdown helped them free up 1300MW of power that could be supplied to people of the state.

These weekly offs will not be applicable for essential and small and medium units with loads up to 100KW.

Gurmeet Singh Kular, President of Federation of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (FICO), said, “I got information about the two-days weekly off at about 12.30pm on Thursday, around 90 minutes before the shutdown started. We had no choice but to shut down our units, else we could have been fined heavily for violating the order. The four units that I have loads of more than 100 KW, thereby coming under the category of heavy industries, which are supposed to observe a shutdown of 48 hours.”

DS Chawla, president of United Cycles Parts and manufacturers association, said, “We strongly condemn the hasty decision of PSPCL to impose a 2 days power cut on large supply consumers. They were given just three hours for complying with the order. A number of consumers were not even aware of this order till late evening. This created major confusion in the industrial sector. The industries are interlinked. If a large industry is closed for two days, it breaks the supply chain. There was a planning failure on part of the PSPCL.. no penalty should be imposed on consumers who did not get the information in time and kept running their units till the evening.”

Upkar Singh, President of Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, said, “A sudden order announcing two days of weekly off was abrupt and uncalled for. The Punjab CM should arrange surplus power so that the state doesn’t need measures like this… There is a huge gap in demand and supply, due to which consumers who pay bills are made to suffer.”

In a notice issued later in the day,, PSPCL said that all large scale industries, steel rolling units and furnaces located in mixed land use areas of Central and North Zone of PSPCL will observe weekly off from 8am of July 2 to 8am of July 4.

Bhupinder Khosla, chief engineer of PSPCL Central Zone, said, “Immediate relief was of 1300 MW units after the heavy industries closed down by Thursday afternoon. Overall we are expecting a load shedding of around 1700-1800 MW with this exercise. This measure was taken due to a rise in demand. We are expecting rains this week, and hence the situation may improve after that.”

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