Early closure of markets

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Given prolonged power outages, provincial governments have started taking measures in order to conserve energy to bring down supply and demand gap.

Chief Minister Punjab Hamza Shahbaz on Saturday announced that markets across the province would close at 9 pm.

The restrictions will not apply to medical stores while there will be relaxation for business community on Saturdays.

A day earlier Sindh government had also made similar announcement regarding early closure of markets.

Long-hours load shedding across the country have left people suffer in high temperatures.

In this backdrop, these measures were necessary and expedient to enforce so that prevalent emergency of energy shortfall may be controlled, which otherwise could have long term and multi sectoral impacts on lives of the general public.

Whilst it is welcoming that business community has extended support to energy conservation measures, however, provincial governments must take requisite steps to ensure full compliance of early closure of markets.

As was seen during first wave of Covid-19, help of law enforcement agencies can also be taken in this regard.

Even if strict action is required, provincial governments must go for it. It is also for shopkeepers to cooperate and they must use early morning hours for business activities.

We believe that there will be no impact on their sales as consumers will also adjust their timings accordingly.

Nowhere in the world, markets remain open till late night.

For special occasions such as Eids, timings may be extended but otherwise, markets must start closing with the dusk, as is also seen in European countries.

It is also for the government to address longstanding issues of power sector for its sustainability.

Line losses and pilferage must be checked to save this system from collapse.

A mechanism needs to be evolved to bring an end to mounting circular debt which is haunting power sector over the last one decade or so.

Time has come to privatise DISCOs to bring more efficiency in them. The revenue thus generated can be used to retire circular debt.