Wedding halls to be closed by 10 pm, markets 8:30 pm: Govt announces

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Islamabad: The federal government on Tuesday announced that wedding halls across the country will be closed by 10 pm, while markets will be shut down by 8:30 pm.

Flanked by other federal ministers, Defence Minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif announced the energy conservation plan in a news conference on Tuesday.

He said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has directed to decrease the usage of electricity used by all departments of the federal government by 30%. He also directed against unimportant usage of electricity in offices.

The minister said, in pursuance of his order, the federal cabinet meeting, in a symbolic action, was also held without the use of any electricity.

“The cabinet, on the recommendation of the power division, has allowed enforcing the energy-saving plan which will be applied to the entire country,” said Asif. He added that under the plan wedding halls will close at 10 pm while markets will close at 8:30 pm. 

The minister said that if these timings are implemented then the country will save Rs62 billion.

Asif also announced that the factories producing fans run on electricity will be halted. 

“Inefficient fans use around 120-130 watts of electricity. Across the globe, fans are available that use 60-80 watts,” he said, adding that the import duty on “inefficient” fans will be increased to decrease their consumption.

The defence minister said that the government is implementing a program to reduce electricity consumption in fans. He said that all government institutions will install efficient devices to save electricity, adding that the ineffective devices have been banned.

He added that the cabinet has also approved that the manufacturing of incandescent bulbs will not be allowed after February 1, 2023. As per the minister, the move will save Rs22 billion.

Asif said that the government is also bringing a building code for the construction sector as the maintenance cost of cement, iron and glass is very high. 

The minister also announced that e-bikes will be introduced countrywide.

“We are slowly shifting to electric bikes. People will be facilitated by financing via dealers to shift to these facilities,” said the minister. He added that Pakistan is using oil worth $3 billion annually.

The minister also announced that the cabinet has directed the formation of a committee to submit a report on implementing work from home in offices.

The minister said that President Arif Alvi has supported the federal government’s plan. He said that the government has spoken to all the provinces and stakeholders and has taken everyone’s stand on it as this will be a permanent feature that will be beneficial for the country.

Asif said that this plan will benefit everyone in the long term. He said that the cabinet will monitor it and review the plan that will be imposed immediately. 

Energy conservation plan unveiled

On December 20 of last year, the federal government unveiled its energy conservation plan, according to which all the markets and restaurants were to be shut down at 8 pm.

However, times has been changed now. 

In the same press conference, Khawaja Asif announced that the federal government would finalize the plan after consultations with the rest of the provinces.

In pursuance of that announcement, a federal government delegation visited provinces to speak on the matter. 

 The committee also met President Arif Alvi last week.

The president had called for launching a consensus-based nationwide, comprehensive, and all-encompassing electricity, gas, and water conservation strategies to conserve precious national resources and divert them for the welfare and prosperity of the people.

Markets to be closed at 8 pm: govt unveils energy conservation plan