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Monday July 22, 2024

Senate panel seeks details of employees involved in power theft

Chairman NHA told the committee that the Ministry of Planning was already prioritizing actions to address the issue of Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway (M6)

By Our Correspondent
July 11, 2024
A general inside view of the Senate hall. — Facebook/Senate of Pakistan/file
A general inside view of the Senate hall. — Facebook/Senate of Pakistan/file

ISLAMABAD: Chairman Senate Functional Committee on the Problems of Less Developed Areas Senator Agha Shahzaib Durrani Wednesday recommended that the Ministry of Power provide details of employees involved in electricity theft and specify any actions taken against them.

Chairing the committee meeting here, Durrani asked the power ministry to provide details of actions about the individuals known to be involved in theft.

He inquired about the actions taken against 17,000 illegal connections of tubewells, considering the Rs550 billion debt.

He emphasized that both registered and unregistered tubewells contribute to the debt, and the burden of 17,000 unregistered tubewells was unfair, requiring immediate action.

The Ministry of Communication provided a detailed briefing on the current status of Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway.

Durrani inquired about the initial interest of the Italian firm Techno-CMC-ACC consortium and its eventual withdrawal after a two-year process.

Chairman NHA told the committee that the Ministry of Planning was already prioritizing actions to address the issue of Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway (M6).

Durrani also addressed the Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway project, initially estimated to cost between Rs200 billion and Rs300 billion.

He noted that after the BOT process, the cost could not be contained to Rs308 billion.

According to the ministry, the cost was now Rs450 billion, while a Chinese company’s calculation placed it at Rs650 billion.

Durrani suggested expediting the motorway development process to prevent further cost increases and to ensure that the project benefits the economy, social welfare, and convenience for citizens.

The NHA chairman told the committee that the entire N-25 was 790km long, with dualization of Khuzdar-Kuchlak section being 330km, Karachi-Kararo 232km, Wadh-Khuzdar 41km, Kararo-Wadh 83km, and Kuchlak-Chaman 104km.

He stated that the Khuzdar-Kuchlak section of N-25 had been categorized into five packages, with Section 1 costing Rs8.786 billion, Section 2 costing Rs9.27 billion, Section 3 costing Rs10.588 billion, and Section 4 costing Rs11.321 billion, respectively.

The ministry stated that while the allocation was Rs13.6 billion, they received only Rs7 billion.

After a detailed analysis, Durrani pointed out that the road connecting Jeeva Check Post required scrutiny and recommended to the ministry officers that if the road development continues at a snail’s pace, no amount of funding will yield results.

He also noted that over the last 10 years, several accidents had occurred due to the unreliability of the route.

He further inquired about the five bridges that were ruined after the 2022 floods and expressed dissatisfaction that over two years, no significant progress had been made on their reconstruction.

The ministry officials reported that one out of the five bridges was almost complete, while the other four were still in the tendering process.

The committee chairman suggested that the ministry present the legality and tender documents and provide a report on the bidding documents for the Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway (M6).

He also requested details of the 5 kilometers of National Highway N25, along with quality assurance of the bridges.

Additionally, he suggested revamping toll plazas and ensuring installation of cat’s eyes to ensure safety of the citizens.

Furthermore, the CEO of Quetta Electric Supply Company (Qesco) provided a detailed briefing on the non-energized areas of Balochistan.

The committee chairman inquired about the illegal activities affecting the electricity supply. He also brought to attention that in some areas, electricity was unavailable for 36 hours and then resumed for 12 hours. He suggested that the Qesco end this cycle of disruption, as the citizens bear the brunt of their irresponsibility.