LAHORE: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif directed the authorities concerned on Sunday to take immediate steps for making functional the closed power plants and sought a report entailing clear reasons for the current load-shedding.
He chaired a meeting to discuss power loadshedding and energy crisis and a strategy to resolve these issues. The meeting was attended by Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal, Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik, while Minister for Energy Engineer Khurram Dastagir, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, MNAs and PM’s Special Assistant on Public Policy/ Strategic Communications Fahad Hussain participated in the meeting via video-link. The relevant authorities also attended the meeting.
PM Shehbaz said though the threat of default had been averted, steering the country out of crises was the top-most priority of the coalition government.
The premier promised that the PMLN-led national government would overcome the issue like in the past, as he himself was monitoring the load-sheddingacross country. The prime minister also ordered for resolving provincial issues of drinking water provision and agricultural facilities on priority basis. The Indus River System Authority (IRSA) was told to take an independent decision after consultations with the provinces.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif chaired another meeting on law and order situation in the Punjab province. Deputy Speaker Punjab Assembly, Chief Secretary Punjab, Inspector General Punjab Police and senior police officers attended the meeting.
The PM directed that police should not give in to any pressure while performing their professional duties and ensure in every way possible protection of life and property of people. He said that police should provide all possible protection of life and property to the public.
The PM assured that police would be provided sufficient funds for enhancing their capacity for overcoming the present challenges. However, he warned that poor performance and lethargic attitude would not be tolerated.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also discussed preparations for Eid-ul-Azha and cleanliness campaign during the Eid days. Special Assistant to Chief Minister Punjab Khwaja Ahmed Hassan, Chief Secretary Punjab, Additional Chief Secretary Punjab, IGP Punjab, Commissioner Lahore and officers concerned attended the meeting.
The prime minister was given a detailed briefing on the arrangements for cleanliness in Punjab during Eid-ul-Azha. He instructed the officials to keep the machinery functional on Eid days to ensure removal of sacrificial animals’ remains on time.
Separately, Federal Minister for Power Khurram Dastgir Sunday announced that people would have to experience power outages even on Eid-ul-Azha days. However, he said the areas where people pay their electricity bills regularly would get ‘major relief’.
Addressing a press conference in Gujranwala, he said those areas where people did not pay their electricity bills would face power outages both in urban and rural areas. He said the Krut power plant had started generating 720 MW electricity from June 29, “and with installation of more mega power projects in the coming months, it is hoped that the nation would not witness any energy crisis and loadshedding in the next year”.
Criticising former prime minister Imran Khan-led PTI government over its alleged wrongdoings, Dastagir said industries were being provided power supply 24 hours a day.
“Besides, the inflow of water in the Tarbela Dam has also increased during the last three days. Production has increased by 600MW. The dam is expected to start generating 3,400MW at full capacity in the next few days,” he added. “Things will improve on the economic and energy front in the next two to three months,” he hoped.
The federal minister said that 5,800MW power projects could not be run due to incompetence of the Imran government. The past government had failed to manage cheap gas on time, due to which the people of Pakistan had to suffer from loadshedding. He said a large amount of electricity could be generated from Pakistani coal. “The 1,214 MW Thar Coal mega plant would be a large plant running on Pakistani coal,” he added.
Dastgir said the coalition government was also trying to introduce packages to transition domestic consumers to solar energy. “A comprehensive policy for solar panels is being formulated. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will announce the solar package in the coming days,” he said.
The minister said that loadshedding was being done under a formula. He alleged that Imran Khan committed a robbery in his last year and all challenges the nation was facing today were due to the government of “robbers”, headed by Imran Khan.
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