Wednesday December 08, 2021

Federal govt not serious about tackling load-shedding in Sindh, PA told

July 25, 2020

While the persisting power crisis has agonised the lives of residents of Karachi, the power situation is equally worse in the rest of Sindh as the federal government is not serious about tackling the problem of load-shedding in the province.

Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh said this on Friday as he gave a policy statement on the power crisis in the Sindh Assembly. He stated in the House that the worst form of load-shedding was being carried out in Sindh. He added that he had held meetings with officials of K-Electric (KE), the Hyderabad Electric Supply Company and the Sukkur Electric Power Company to get first-hand information about the power issue.

Shaikh told the PA that the KE officials informed him that the federal government had not been supplying furnace oil to the power utility in sufficient quantity. He blamed the federal government for the worsened situation of load-shedding in Sindh and reminded the legislators that the federal government still possessed 27 per cent shares of KE despite its privatisation.

The energy minister said power consumers in rural Sindh had to suffer power outages of up to 18 hours a day while they had to pay exorbitant charges for consuming electricity in the name of ‘detection bills’.

Inefficiency and ill-advised policies of the federal government were responsible for the persisting power crisis, he said, adding that the federal government had imposed a ban on the import of furnace oil when oil prices had phenomenally come down all over the world.

He maintained that KE had failed to follow the agreement it had signed with the government on the electricity affairs of the city.

The federal government should apologise to the people of Sindh for the allegation that the power consumers in the province had been involved in pilferage of electricity, Shaikh said.

He added that the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was responsible for the power crisis in Sindh, and leaders and lawmakers of the same party had staged a drama by holding a protest sit-in outside the KE head office in the city. “What sort of protest sit-in it was as its participants received water, juice and meals from K-Electric.”

He lamented that the federal energy minister had not visited Sindh since the emergence of electricity crisis in the province. “The federal Energy minister should show seriousness as he should better sit with the Sindh government to tackle this issue.”

The remarks against the federal government caused uproar in the PA as the opposition clashed with treasury lawmakers. Owing to the resulting chaos, Speaker Agha Siraj Khan Durrani adjourned the session till July 27.

Mass transit projects

Earlier, speaking during the question hour of the session, Sindh Transport Minister Syed Awais Qadir Shah conceded that there had been inordinate delay in implementing the projects of mass transit in Karachi.

He said an agreement had been signed with the Asian Development Bank for getting loan for constructing the Red Line section of the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) in Karachi. He added that the buses that would operate on the Red Line section of the BRTS would consume bio-gas and the tenders for the project would be invited next month.

The transport minister informed the house that agencies under the administrative control of the federal government were responsible for testing CNG cylinders in the vehicles. He maintained that the provincial government lacked the authority to stop the use of defective CNG cylinders in the vehicles.