Lack of propane gas causes unemployment in Shiberghan
SHIBERGHAN (PAN): About 1,500 people working in Shiberghan city have been unemployed since December as the municipality has suspended the gas supply to bakeries, hotels and brick kilns to conserve more fuel for homes.
The department of Propane Gas Enterprises shut down the pipeline to 200 small businesses after residents complained they could not heat their homes. It is the first time they have ever done such a thing.
Mohammad Hassan a resident of Shiberghan city said: “When gas was supplied to bakeries and shops, the flow to residential houses was slow.”
Noorullah, the head of pastry bakers of Shiberghan said 50 pastry bakeries and 40 bread bakeries, as well as brick kilns and hotels were without gas.
The workers would remain unemployed until the gas is restarted, he said.
Mohammad Ali, a resident of Tanka village who worked in a pastry bakery, said he had been jobless since the gas supply was suspended. “I have children but I don’t know how to make money to feed them.”
Every day he goes to the crossroad to find work as a labourer, but is only employed for a few days each time. “I will wait until the bakeries start work again, and then I will be employed.”
Samiullah, 56, a resident of Yanga Kint village who owns a bakery, said he had to close his shop because of the gas shortage. He said he tried to use firewood to light the oven, but that cost him too much money.
Abdul Hamid, technical assistant at the Propane Gas Enterprises, said the governor had ordered that gas be discontinued to 200 small factories in Shiberghan city. The supply was supposed to restart in April, when the city gets a greater capacity of gas.
Hamid said about 1,500 people were unemployed because of the suspension of gas and while some tried to keep their businesses going by using firewood, others were seeking work in construction or day labouring.
Abdul Wahed Azerlu, a spokesman for the Jawzjan governor, said they were trying to improve the supply by enabling gas at well number 2 in Shakarak village which would provide an extra 120 m3 gas a day.
However, he said right now, they did not have the budget to fix the well, or another 100 like it, which had been damaged during the war against the Soviets. When the Red Army fled, the engineers had capped the well with cement and barite and cleaning them would cost a lot of money, he said.
He said they were in talks with the Ministry of Mines and international donors.
Currently, only six wells supplying 20,000 m3 of gas supply Shiberghan. Another 40 supply the rest of the province.
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