CCI constitutes committee for uniform power distribution


The Council of Common Interests (CCI) has decided to constitute a committee to address the complaints of provinces regarding uneven load shedding in its overall 19th and the ninth meeting held after the passage of the 18th Amendment.
The meeting, held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf at Prime Minister’s Secretariat Wednesday, decided to constitute a committee headed by minister for water and power and comprising the chief secretary and a technical member from each province.
The terms of reference of the committee include recommendation of a mechanism to ensure equitable distribution of available electricity and measures for recovery of power dues. The PM directed the committee to put up its recommendations within one week. Earlier, in his opening remarks, the prime minister recalled that the present crisis was due to the failure of previous government to add a single megawatt of generation capacity to the system. However, despite constraints the present government was successful in adding 3300 MW to the national grid.
The members of CCI discussed the issue of energy in detail and discussed various aspects and complexities in this regard. The meeting also approved the Petroleum Policy (Exploration and Production) 2012, proposed by the ministry of petroleum and natural resources.
An issue pertaining to the salaries of employees of Population Welfare, devolved to the provinces after the 18th Amendment, was also discussed. It was decided that federal secretary planning and federal secretary finance along with representatives of provincial governments would work out modalities to resolve the financial issues. Ashraf said the CCI carried great significance in the resolution of national issues, adding that majority of the decisions taken by the council had been implemented. He appreciated the understanding and flexibility shown by the chief ministers of provinces in resolving to devise a mechanism for equitable distribution of electricity in the country. The prime minister said that the government proved successful in arriving at the 7th National Finance Award which would go a long way in strengthening the federation. He expressed the confidence that the energy challenge would also be resolved in the same spirit.
Shahbaz protests: During the meeting, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif protested against prolonged load shedding, demanding equal load shedding in all the provinces. Shahbaz stressed upon the CCI to discharge its responsibilities towards putting an end to discriminatory and unjust attitude to Punjab with regard to load shedding. The CM presented his stance for more than an hour to the Council. He said that the discriminatory load shedding in Punjab was not a provincial but a national issue and he could not remain a bystander while the economy of Punjab was being destroyed. He said that the people of whole country were equal Pakistanis and their joys and sorrows should be common. He said that Punjab had set a noble example of national solidarity by sacrificing Rs 11 billion of its share for the approval of NFC Award. He said that the causes of shortage of energy were an open secret and he did not want to go into the shameful details of loot and plunder. However, Rs 209 million of the poor masses were being wasted every year including the amount that was being lost in the form of theft and line losses. The chief minister presented a resolution for the elimination of unjust load shedding which was unanimously approved. He said that the losses which the country had suffered due to load shedding during the last few years could not be made up easily. The resolution states: “The meeting of CCI expresses concern over the situation arising out of the shortage of electricity and consequent load shedding in the country and believes that efforts be made to resolve this crises in an effective and result oriented manner. “The CCI therefore decides that in order to strengthen the federation and promote solidarity among the people of the country, a system for equitable distribution of electricity be devised in light of the decisions taken during the energy conferences held in Islamabad and Lahore.” The prime minister complained with the chief minister, saying that the latter was a part of the government. His protests against the government, to which he himself was a part, did not make sense. The PM further added that the government was designing a mechanism for judging the amount of load shedding being done across the country. After approval of CM’s resolution and the formation of a committee, the prime minister asked the Punjab CM to end his ongoing protest against load shedding in Punjab. Shahbaz however said that he could not do so at that time. However, he said that would end his protest camp when unjust attitude with Punjab had practically ended.