Sindh Assembly opposition leader Firdous Shamim Naqvi on Monday levelled serious allegations against the office of the Electrical Inspectorate in Karachi under the Sindh Energy Department, saying that the government office instead of discharging its responsibilities to ensure public safety had brazenly become a den of corruption minting millions of rupees, especially from builders.
He made these allegations while speaking in the provincial legislature towards the end of the question hour related to the energy department. As the question hour time was already over by the time the opposition leader made these allegations, Speaker Agha Siraj Khan Durrani did not later give the floor to Energy Minister Imtiaz Ahmed Sheikh to respond to the allegations.
Naqvi said he was well aware about the menacing issue of corrupt practices being committed by the office of the Electrical Inspectorate in the city, and he was ready to bring to the house evidences to prove his assertions.
He said that if an income of two billion rupees was generated for the provincial government’s exchequer during the quarter of a financial year, an amount roughly three times more than this authorised income of the department was generated illegally by the Inspectorate through its unchecked corrupt practices.
Earlier, the energy minister informed the house that the government had been thinking of establishing proper facilitation centres of the office of the Electrical Inspectorate in Karachi to facilitate power consumers who visited the office to resolve their billing issues.
He said one of the tasks assigned to the office of the Electrical Inspectorate was due arbitration on billing disputes between consumers and power utilities in the province to the satisfaction of the former.
He said that for the time being the office of the Electrical Inspectorate had halted its work related to periodic inspections of commercial buildings and factories in the province to check their electrical systems to ensure public safety.
The energy minister said the government had spent a total sum of Rs2,016.515 million till June 2018 for the completion of the Islamkot airport project in Thar built there as part of a scheme to extract coal and generate electricity for the first time in Tharparkar.
He said a formal request had been made by the government to the Civil Aviation Authority to formally take over Islamkot airport like other airports in the country. He said electricity generation would start in January 2019 from the project being executed in Block-II of Thar coal area, under the aegis of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company.
The Sindh Assembly speaker said a number of airports in the province were not functioning in the towns of Sehwan, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas and Jacobabad and the federal government should make them functional to facilitate air travel by people of the province.
The opposition leader, who belongs to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ruling in the centre, said that once more energy and mineral-related projects like Thar coal would be executed in the province, and he would request the federal government to make the airports functional again whose operations were suspended at present.
The energy minister said that Karachi earlier in the morning had experienced once again a big power breakdown as a large portion of the city had been deprived of electricity for a prolonged period of time.
He said he had talked to K-Electric officials on the power breakdown, and they had informed him that the breakdown had once again been caused by tripping in the 500 kV power transmission line at Jamshoro, which was part of the national grid and being maintained by the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC). He said the NTDC had blamed the foggy weather persisting in the area for the tripping of the transmission line supplying electricity to Karachi.
He said the federal authorities concerned should properly maintain the transmission lines to avoid frequent citywide power breakdowns causing miseries to a large number of consumers in Karachi. The energy minister also appealed to the federal government to not impose its gas loadshedding regime in Sindh in the upcoming winter as the province had the maximum number of gas reserves in the country and as per the constitution the people of Sindh had the first right of consumption on these indigenous natural gas reserves.