The energy crisis in the country has increased the worries and woes of the people. Considering the severity of this crisis the government, the policymakers and the civil society must come up with both short and long-term solutions. Protests against the power outages, particularly in Punjab, have become a daily affair and their intensity portends worrisome days ahead. The rioting mobs are becoming more and more violent while the law-enforcement forces look helpless in front of the angry mobs. The residences of some political leaders have also been attacked by protestors. It shows how the power crisis is acquiring a political hue. The first meeting that PM Raja Pervaiz Ashraf chaired after assuming the charge as prime minister was on the issue of energy crisis. Those who attended the meeting agreed on a number of steps, except the Kalabagh dam issue.
Instead of resorting to an unending blame game, all political parties should join hands to hammer out a physically workable and financially viable policy to effectively confront this challenge – which is potentially a poisonous political bequest. Coming to the prospects of various solutions to the crisis, the government has decided to continue with the Thar coal project, and agreed to release funds for it. Sindh will reportedly handle the administrative matters of the project. Soon, 8MW to 10MW power would be produced and in the next phase the figure is to be taken to 100MW. According to Dr Samar Mubarakmand, if completed, the project can produce 50,000MW of power every day. A similar offer has been made by Dr A Q Khan who claimed that loadshedding could be ended within days, not months. The projects’ capacity needs to be built up gradually, producing not just power but also gas, diesel and ammonia. The government needs to pay attention to all the projects, including building of dams. It has launched wind and solar energy projects which will start delivering in the coming years. We have great potential in terms of manpower, scientists and experts. We need only a leadership to take the decision and take the nation along in unison.
F Z Khan