Open House: Delayed monsoon, power crisis: how can the industry survive in such conditions?
Forced power cuts undoubtedly acted as a blow to large-scale industries that are already reeling under losses for the second consecutive year. From lack of demand from distributors to shortage of labour, Punjab's industrial hub is fighting this unprecedented war on multiple fronts. To revive industry, the government should lead from the front. There is a need to "redefine, refocus and change" the blueprint for the revival of industrial sector. The state government must provide manufacturing units with institutional access to working capital and enable liquidity by deferring loan repayments. In order to provide a major boost to the sector immediately, the incumbent dispensation must help MSME sector by underwriting a part of their loan amounts.
Use power judiciously
It has become difficult for the industry to survive under such circumstances as the factories are unable to produce goods and services as per the demand. To cope up with these issues, we all need to be more firm. If we want our demands, in terms of products, to be fulfilled, we need to ensure sustainability of water and power resources. This is possible by adopting rainwater harvesting system in our homes and in factories. We should look at the overall power needs and not waste electricity. We must use inbuilt solar systems and use natural electricity. We all need to follow and adopt some eco-friendly methods to save electricity and water.
OPEN HOUSE QUESTION
At a time when the WHO and the Centre are cautioning people to exercise utmost restraint in the wake of much-anticipated third Covid wave, which experts predict is round the corner, is it advisable to re-open educational institutions, especially schools, when children below 18 years remain non-vaccinated? Suggestions in not more than 70 words can be sent to email@example.com
Allow partial production
Industrialists are facing many financial problems, first due to Covid-19 and now due to power usage restrictions. There are some steps which should be taken, both by government and industrialists. First of all, the government should modify the restrictions. Instead of full-day shut down, the industries can be allowed to operate on alternate days for 12 hours each day. The government should make sure that all industries are getting full financial support, such as easy loans, waiver of old loans etc. The industries which use minimal water and power should be provided incentives. When it comes to industrialists, they should make sure that they are following guidelines. There should be minimum use of power and water. Non-essential production should be temporarily stopped.
Govt must support industry
The industry had been adversely impacted due to the nationwide lockdown imposed due to Covid. Now, when the economy has reopened, the industry is facing the problem of power and water crisis. In order to survive in such conditions, the production houses need adequate government support in form of tax rebates, reduction in tariffs on power and water supply, restructuring of loans, credit availability at reasonable rate of interest etc. In the long run, to ensure continuous supply of power and water, government should encourage industries to install solar panels and water recycling plants on their premises by giving them incentives.
Install more thermal plants
It is a known fact that monsoon has not been regular in Punjab since a decade. So, rainwater is not dependable anymore. Also, during monsoon we face the dual problem of lack of power for industry and pure water to drink. The supply of electricity is considered the backbone of industry. Due to lack of power supply, our economy is getting affected. It creates a very serious problem of unemployment. In order to boost the industry, hours of electricity supply should be fixed. Efforts should be made to install more thermal plants to produce more power in the state itself. People also must be encouraged to save electricity. The government needs to open more industrial units only when our supply of power is normalised. Also, more trees need to be planted for rain.
Careful power usage must
Punjab is the hub of industries. However, for the past one year, the industrialists are under heavy losses due to the pandemic. Now, when they had a chance to revive, the problem of inadequate power supply has jeopardised their functioning. This is due to the lack of foresight on part of the state government as it didn't make any arrangements for the increased demand of power supply in the months of extreme heat. Industries too need to be more vigilant in the use of electricity. They should minimise wastage and ban the use of air conditioners. Also, the machines using more power supply ought to be shut down for a few days.
The state industrialists were already reeling under losses due to the pandemic and the power crisis has added to their woes. The state government should purchase more power to meet the industry demand. The shut thermal plants must be made functional immediately and more thermal plants must be set up in the state. The government needs to enhance its transmission capacity vis-a-vis the rising demand. Also, taxes on diesel can be reduced or subsidy can be provided on diesel to industry during the period of crisis. As a long term measure, the power demand for agriculture needs to be reduced by encouraging diversification of crops and providing more canal water for irrigation.
Pool rainwater for field use
The main reason for the electricity and water crises is the reducing groundwater. This problem can be minimised by creating awareness among the farmers to use rice crops PR 126, PR 124, PR 127 and PR 121 as these varieties can mature or ripen within 193, 107 and 110 days and need 15 - 20% less water as compared to the more common Pilli Pusa variety. Rice crop uses 67% of Punjab’s water every year. Some simple steps, like pooling rainwater and using it for watering crops, prohibiting unnecessary use of electricity and water, making residents aware of the need to save water and electricity etc can be helpful. A nation can develop rapidly only of its industry runs smoothly. The industry suffering from Covid and power cuts should be given relief in taxes by the government.
Run industries on rotation
It is a very tough situation, both for the agriculture sector and the industrial sector in the state. Industries have been ordered to shut down forcefully due to power shortage. It is difficult to run factories to produce and meet the demand of the market. The state’s industry is losing business, prices are shooting up continuously and residents are bearing the brunt of it all. To come out of the crisis, the government must run the factories on rotation. Heavy industries may be allowed to carry out their production in late night hours for some time. The government must install more power generating plants and must make plans to overcome the shortage of power supply during summers. It must permit the units to run by using generators in the period of power crisis.
Proper supply to firms must
Power shortage and its frequent breakdown are two important reasons for slowing down of industrial production and big financial losses to the state. The government must allocate more attention and funds for increasing production of power in the state itself, rather than buying it from outside after paying high prices, as at present. Also, government should promote use of solar plants by giving incentives to people. The electricity department must make sure that there is no breakdown of electric supply under any circumstances. Regular supply of electricity to the industry will mean more industrial production, increase in income and welfare of the state.
Time to shift to solar power
The temporary shutting down of factories due to less supply of electricity has led to an extremely devastating situation. In such circumstances, it is the sole responsibility of PSPCL to meet the demands of electricity, instead of just issuing public notices and waiting for monsoon. The power board needs to make sure that whatever reasons are responsible for power cuts in industrial sector should be resolved as soon as possible. PSPCL must learn a lesson from the current scenario and work in the field of solar power generation. It is high time that the state should rely more on solar power instead of thermal power plants and hydroelectricity.
Long-term solution needed
The Covid-19 turmoil has hit all business houses and industries of the state badly. Recent cuts owing to reduced electricity supply have added fuel to the fire. They should be immediately withdrawn. The state government should strive hard to rescue the industry from this crisis by giving them adequate financial help in the shape of loans etc. Also, there is an urgent need to evolve and look at the long -term solution of the problem.
Dr Sunil Chopra
Buy from surplus states
Punjab is reeling under the problem of shortage of power supply, Covid pandemic, harvesting season and scanty monsoon. If the government ignores agriculture, then industry has to suffer and vice versa, due to power shortage. The government can come out of the crisis by directing the industries to run in shifts. During day time, power supply may be released to villages. The government may purchase electricity from power surplus states, such as Himachal Pradesh and Srinagar, and may sell power to these states in off period, such as in winters. Power supply may be rationed during peak hours and at least for two shifts, regular supply of power must be released to industries. Agriculturalists and industrialists must cooperate with the government in this time of crisis.
Dr.Mohd Saleem Farooqui
Fix working hours
Demand of electricity has increased manifolds as compared to its supply. The state faces power shortage in peak summers and as a result, the industrial units have been forced to shut down. The industry is already under huge losses due to Covid-induced lockdowns. The government must make arrangements to purchase electricity from other states and in order to boost the industry, it must provide power at subsidised rates. If more crises prevail, then it should fix working hours for industrial firms. Power cuts should not be imposed in industrial areas. It can be imposed in residential areas for ensuring surplus.
Admit it or not, we are over-dependent on electricity. Each and every gadget at our houses is electronic. So the question is, from where will so much electricity be produced? The only answer seems to be using alternative sources. We need a paradigm shift with regard to use of electricity. For the time being, forced closure of industry was the only possible solution, but this is injustice with the industry, which is already in losses due to Covid-19 restrictions. We must also look for ways to save electricity, which can be a good measure to save the industry. The habit of using electricity judiciously must be instilled in kids. Above all, the subsidies given to all categories should be abolished, so that the money thus saved by the power corporation be used for purchasing deficient power.
Bir Devinder Singh Bedi
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