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Wednesday June 19, 2024

FIA, intelligence officers to be inducted into DISCOs to eliminate corruption

PM Shehbaz directs Power Division to appoint a deputy director-level officer from FIA in DISCOs on a permanent basis

By Ayaz Akbar Yousafzai
May 20, 2024
An employee of the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) takes a meter reading with his smartphone at a commercial building in Islamabad. — AFP/File
An employee of the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) takes a meter reading with his smartphone at a commercial building in Islamabad. — AFP/File

The federal government has decided to appoint officers from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and other spy agencies in the power distribution companies (DISCOs) to end corruption.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has directed the Power Division to appoint a deputy director-level officer from the FIA to the electric supply companies on a permanent basis.

The FIA official will prepare cases against the corrupt officers as the authorities are all set to remove the directors appointed on a political basis in the companies.

While the additional director general will coordinate and monitor at the headquarters level.

The decision came more than a month after PM Shehbaz said the country could not afford electricity theft at a large scale amid the precarious and appalling economic situation, stressing to immediately make the strategy for the upgradation of transmission lines and reduction in line losses on a sustainable basis.

He had said this when he was briefed about the massive electricity theft across the country that made the whole power sector unviable and unsustainable.

The premier had been briefed that the Power Division had saved a net amount of Rs57 billion through an anti-electricity theft drive that began in September 2023. The authorities had also recovered Rs40 billion in the current billing.

According to a top official of the Energy Ministry who was a part of the briefing to the premier, the authorities had arrested 45,777 unscrupulous elements in Punjab involved in electricity theft, 1,250 people in Sindh, 5,121 in KP and 181 in Balochistan.

During the anti-power theft campaign, 350 officials of various electricity distribution companies (Discos) had been suspended.

The PM had asked the chief secretaries of all the provinces and their IGs to help Discos in the anti-electricity theft drive so that the power sector could be made viable on a sustainable basis.

During the briefing, the prime minister had stressed a sustainable and permanent system that would not only help recover the amount from those who steal electricity but also keep an eye on them. More importantly, technology should be introduced into the system to help erase electricity theft.

Those officials of DISCOS who are involved in helping people with electricity theft should be punished and to this effect, required proceedings should be undertaken against them with immediate effect, the premier had directed.