Loadshedding in Pakistan gives birth to new cottage industry

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LAHORE: The unending loadshedding was giving rise to a new form of cottage industry which was producing scores of goods to counter the power outages. Loadshedding, though, has adversely affected the big industries, yet it helped small industry to grow.

Small manufacturers, who were actually exploiting loadshedding, are getting handsome amount by making emergency lights, candles, generators, UPS and many others. The ignored and even dying business of artificial power sources got strength in the current “era of darkness.” This loadshedding crisis started for a long time ago, which gave birth to the electrical equipments price-hike. Since that period, the price has not come down and the manufacturers earning abnormal profits for energy articles. An industry has come into being which was creating jobs (sort of cottage industry) and has expanded to many homes from workshop or factory and manual labour has been benefitted.

According to an estimate, there are 10,000 factories in Lahore, among which approximately 30-40 percent factories have been closed because of loadshedding. These factories were utilising electricity and sui gas in a huge amount. In these factories, plastic molding, rubber articles, leather garments, cotton, iron-made goods, and many other things were being produced.

According to the labour department sources, approximately 800,000 labourers have been dispelled from their jobs. While, 400,000 to 800,000 labourers were receiving less wage. “The owners have finished the overtime facility because of loadshedding and this was increasing our hardships,” said Mubarak, a worker at Band Road.

However, on the other hand, many producers are making Ultra Power Supply (UPS) of 500-1000w and selling them on various prices ranging from Rs 6,000-12,000. They claimed that at least two tube lights, two fans, one computer and one TV could be run, but the price, they are charging, did not include the cost of battery of 48A or more, which was available in the market at Rs 2,400 to Rs 4,500. Moreover, the battery age was approximately one-year and if the battery spoiled, the consumers have to bear more charges for its repairing or replacing.

Rashid, a generator dealer said that 2007 has recorded an increase in the prices of ordinary generator by Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000 depending on different brands, sizes and quality. Usually, the China made generators were being used more, as compared to other imported ones, whose rates were very high.

Saleem, a generator dealer, told The Post that the market was stocked with various varieties of generators in accordance with their power capacity, some were operated on diesel, and petrol and some on gas.

It is pertinent to mention here that replica articles have also captured the markets due to its low price, although there was a serious concern about their quality. Most of the shopkeepers were selling artificial light gadgets because, they said, the common people forced them to bring these goods to the markets. But the risk of these commodities, being a substandard quality, pose a grave risk that it might be exploded.

In summer season, coolers and fans demand would also rise, especially in schools, colleges, homes, offices etc. and in case of continuity of loadshedding, the demand of artificial energy resources would likely to rise.

By Nafees Tahir

Originally posted at The Post

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