PESHAWAR: The issue of excessive electricity loadshedding echoed in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Thursday as members from both the treasury and opposition benches through a unanimously-adopted resolution called for an end to the power outages in the province.
Presented by Sardar Hussain Babak of the Awami National Party (ANP) and signed by members from different political parties including the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the resolution asked the federal government to resolve the loadshedding issue and ensure the province its due share of electricity.
Speaking on the resolution, Sardar Babak said that KP was facing more than 18 hours loadshedding daily despite the fact that the province was producing over 5,000 megawatts of cheap hydel power.
The voltage in the province was also too low to operate electric appliances, he added. "Now the PTI is in power in the province and Centre so it should resolve this longstanding problem once and for all," he said.
He added that the transmission lines were old and outdated and grid-stations also needed up-gradation to enhance the capacity of bearing the load. He alleged that KP was not given its due share in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects and the $49 billion Chinese investment was totally diverted towards Punjab where power plants were being installed to be operated through coal instead of utilising it for generating hydel power in KP.
He suggested that transformers repair workshops should be established at the district level to facilitate electricity consumers and the western route of the CPEC ought to be completed on priority basis.
He hoped that the new government would take the excessive loadshedding problem seriously and would solve it once and for all. Inayatullah Khan of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) said the PTI leadership was well aware of the problem and now it was in power and should resolve it on priority basis.
He maintained that the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) was not following its formula of not carrying out loadshedding in areas where recovery is better. In Malakand and Hazara divisions, he said, the recovery was 90 percent but more than 18 hours loadshedding was being carried out there.
He claimed that the Centre was stealing 400 to 500 megawatts of electricity of KP. PTI's Shah Farman, who has been designated as the next governor of KP, said the province would have no loadshedding of electricity and natural gas if implementation of Article 157 and 178 was ensured.
He said that Pesco was supplying power to commercial entities and depriving domestic consumers of their right. Since Pesco staff was hand in glove with power thieves, the latter are not interested in installing meters, he added.
Senior Minister Muhammad Atif Khan said it was an injustice to cut power supply to those paying their bills regularly and punish them for the theft of others.
However, he admitted there was hardly any gap in electricity demand and generation but line losses were high and the distribution system was obsolete. He said drastic reforms were needed in the recovery and distribution system. There were some feeders where line losses were above 98 percent, he claimed.
Quoting a Wapda officer, he said there was a feeder where electricity worth Rs145,00,000 was being supplied, but recovery was just Rs13,000. Sahibzada Sanaullah of Pakistan People's Party said Malakand division should be supplied power from the 108 megawatts Golen Gol hydropower project in nearby Chitral.
"Though a line is being laid down from Chitral up to Lahore for electricity supply, the Upper Dir and Lower Dir districts and other parts of Malakand division are being ignored," he complained.
"All the elected representatives belonging to Malakand division have joined hands while demanding local supply of electricity from Golen Gol and they would not to allow the transmission line if the demand was not accepted," he warned.
The assembly unanimously adopted another resolution demanding severing diplomatic ties with the Netherlands over the planned exhibition of blasphemous sketches.
The joint resolution presented by Fazle Elahi of the PTI and signed by other parties' members asked the federal government to take up the matter with the Dutch government and strongly convey the anger of Muslims over this blasphemous act. The resolution was passed with Inayatullah Khan's amendment, asking for cutting diplomatic ties and boycotting Dutch products.
Maulana Lutfur Rahman of the JUI-F also supported Inayatullah, saying that Dutch ambassador should be expelled and Pakistani ambassador called back to convey a strong message to the Netherland and the world.
Earlier, the house unanimously passed a resolution moved by Law Minister Sultan Muhammad Khan to declare the Assembly Hall as polling station for the September 4 presidential election. Later, acting speaker Mehmood Jan, who presided over the session, prorogued the assembly sine die.