- Grilling govt for power outages and deaths in Karachi, NA Opp leader asks Centre to take over K-Electric
- Power minister says no load shedding during Sehr and Iftar, promises 14,000 MWs electricity by 2018
Perturbed over the rising number of heat-related deaths in Karachi amidst persistent power outages, the parliamentarians in National Assembly (NA) resorted to each other’s bashing with the opposition “shaming” the government for “lacking honour”.
During the assembly’s session on Wednesday, NA opposition leader Khursheed Shah lashed out at the federal government for power cuts across the country as the death toll from the heatwave reached a staggering 830 in four days.
In an emotional speech centered on the overwhelming loss of lives in Karachi, which he linked with power cuts, Shah took the floor after Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif had furnished the House with details of power supply and shortages across the country and percentage of recoveries made by various supply companies.
“For God’s sake! The government should stop talking about calculations and talk about saving lives,” Shah thundered. “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had said there won’t be any load shedding in Ramzan.”
In defence of the beleaguered Sindh government, Shah hit out at the federal government for not delivering on its promise to end the power crisis. “The government made promises to end load shedding in three months, then six months, then one year and now two years – you are now saying 2018,” he grilled the government, calling it to admit its failure.
Shah’s emotions ran high as he shared a death toll of 1,200 from across Sindh. “This is not a time for politics. I am in pain today. People are dying and there is no water to wash corpses…. And you are blaming the Sindh government?” Shah said, adding that the centre should take over K-Electric and that Qaim Ali Shah’s government would support the move.
“Thousands are dying in Karachi. This is not K-Electric’s problem; this is Pakistan’s problem.”
Shah’s speech was directed at Khawaja Asif, who had taken his seat after saying in an earlier speech that the power crisis in Sindh was not the federal government’s responsibility.
“Abid Sher Ali is a child. But you are an educated man,” Shah referred to Asif, adding that the government should not indulge in “criticism for the sake of criticism”.
Shah asked as to where the 24,000 megawatts (MWs) of electricity was that the minister for water and power had promised to include in the system.
WAKE UP CALL FOR GOVT:
Moreover, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker Asad Umar while addressing the Parliament questioned the status of Nandipur and Gaddani power projects.
“The Nandipur power project has worked for three days only, it is a Rs 57 billion project which has been shut for a year,” he said.
Reciting Habib Jalib couplets in jalsas will not end the power crisis, he said, as lawmakers applauded. “Look beyond your friends and relatives,” Umer further said. “Till professionals are not given control of this sector, then god forbid we will have to witness yet another day when over 700 are dead.”
Furthermore, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Abdul Rashid Godil said that Karachi was the economic hub of the country and federal government could remain oblivious to its problems. He regretted the prolonged power outages in different cities and asked the government to find permanent solution to the power crisis.
GOVT PLEADS INNOCENT, SAYS NOT RESPONSIBLE:
Earlier, making a detailed presentation about power situation before the assembly after the House adopted a motion to debate the power crisis, Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif said that there was a power shortfall of almost 3,000 MWs but made it clear that no load shedding was being carried out during Sehr and Iftar per the prime minister’s promise.
Asif said that the current total generation stood at 13,184 MWs against the demand of 16,645 MWs. He said that five hours of load shedding was being carried out in the urban areas and eight hours in rural areas.
Expressing grief over the deaths in Karachi caused by a devastating heatwave, Asif categorically stated that the federal government was not responsible for the power shortfall in Karachi.
Adopting an offensive attitude, Asif said K-Electric was responsible for providing electricity to Sindh and not the federal government. He also said that the deaths in Karachi are linked with the heatwave and not electricity shortfall.
However, Asif said that 650 MWs was being provided to the K-Electric keeping in view the difficulties of the people of the provincial metropolis. He however said that this private entity owes Rs 57 billion to Sui Southern and the Pakistan State Oil (PSO).
Moreover, the minister said the losses in Islamabad were due to Afghan refugees who had established several slums and were also involved in incidents of power theft. He said that two Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) employees had spotted power theft sometime ago, and had initiated action against the accused persons but were shot dead.
CHECK OUT THE PERFORMANCE:
Speaking about the electricity situation in Quetta, the minister said that the Balochistan government had intimated a few days ago that the power supply in the province was satisfactory. He congratulated the Ministry of Water and Power for their role in this regard.
He, however, revealed that billing in Quetta Electric Supply Company (QESCO) is only 33pc, adding that the ministry has been facing a huge loss in recovery.
Furthermore, the minister said that from July 2014 to April 2015, Gujranwala Electric Power Company (GEPCO)’s billing stood at 98.4 per cent, while losses were 9.8pc, adding that it was 7pc less as compared to National Electric Power Regulatory Authority’s (NEPRA) overall losses.
Asif said Multan Electric Power Company (MEPCO)’s billing was 100pc during the period under review, adding that Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (FESCO)’s billing also stood at 100pc. He further said Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO)’s billing is 98.2pc whereas IESCO’s is 89.2pc.
The minister further said that billing in Peshawar is 87.3pc. Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (HESCO)’s recoveries have been clocked in at 76pc, while Sukkur Electric Power Company (SEPCO)’s stood at 57.8pc.
MORE POWER BY 2018:
Asif said that the government has started several power projects to cope with the energy crisis. He said that 14,000 to 15,000 MWs of electricity will be added in the national grid by 2018; 1,020 MWs will be added to the system in 2015-16, 4,692 MWs in 2016-17 and 5,142 MWs in 2018.
Additionally, the minister said additional 3,600 MWs of energy will be generated through Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). He added that contract for import of LNG with Qatar had not yet been signed but it will be below 14 percent of the Brent. He assured that Pakistan will import the LNG at the lowest rate in Asia which will help save the country billions of rupees.
Furthermore, the minister said massive investment was also being made to improve the transmission system in order to provide uninterrupted electricity to the consumers. He said three grid stations of 500 KV and 11 grid stations of 220 KV were being set up in the country. He said the issue of power outages was created not by the present government but was the “result of criminal negligence of the previous governments”.
[…] Karachi News Sources […]
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Balochistan government had intimated a few days ago that the power supply in the province was satisfactory.
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