PESHAWAR, Oct 11: The treasury and opposition benches in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Friday strongly reacted to the ‘negative propaganda’ of State Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over power theft and line losses.
Participating in the debate against Pesco and statements of Abid Sher Ali, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak told the house that Pesco officials were dacoits, robbers and thieves and that they themselves were involved in power theft.
“How Pesco will overcome the menace of power theft when its own officials are encouraging power theft,” he said.
The chief minister said he had directed all MPAs to immediately inform police to arrest Pesco officials responsible for unscheduled power outages in their respective constituencies. He said police would arrest Pesco officials and put them behind bars over unscheduled loadshedding.
Mr Khattak said Pesco officials were worried about the Federal Investigation Agency crackdown on illegal power users as they themselves were involved in theft of electricity.
He said it’s why some Pesco employees had locked an FIA team in a room in Nowshera during a raid on a farmhouse illegally consuming electricity and that the farmhouse was owned by one of their colleagues.
The chief minister said the Pesco executive engineers in different circles had established private workshops, where they repaired damaged transformers by getting huge sum of money from consumers. He said such officials didn’t encourage consumers to repair transformers in government workshops.
Mr Khattak said disconnection of power measuring meters was encouraged by the Pesco officials. He said some low-grade employees of the grid stations collected ‘monthlies’ (extortion money) from power thieves.
Senior Minister Sirajul Haq said line losses in Punjab were six billion units, in Sindh 6.5 billion units and 3.37 billion units in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
He said line losses in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were far less than those in Punjab, so why Abid Sher Ali had begun spreading negative propaganda against the province.
“Our power share in the national grid is 2200MW but Wapda is providing us with 1200MW only,” he said.
The minister said the provincial government was developing a strategy on how to manage loadshedding.
Information Minister Shah Farman told the house that he had tried several times to meet Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif and State Minister Abid Sher Ali over issues related to electricity, but in vain.
Provincial Communication and Works Minister Yousaf Ayub said the state minister for water and power had given the impression in the TV talk shows that electricity was being consumed illegally in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in large quantity.
“It is an attempt to defame the people of the province,” he said.
Parliamentary leader of Awami National Party Sardar Hussain Babak said factories had been closing down in the province due to prolonged power outages.
At the request of the opposition benches, the government referred ‘The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission Bill, 2013’ and ‘The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Local Government Bill, 2013,’ to the select committees. The MPAs from opposition benches were of the view that both bills were very important and therefore, they should be referred to the select committees for threadbare discussion and recommendations.
The house later formed two select committees for the purpose with both having representation of the treasury and opposition benches.
The select committee for ‘The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Local Government Bill, 2013’ consists of Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan, Yousaf Ayub, Aneesa Zaib, Sardar Hussain Babak, Lutfur Rehman and Mohammad Ali Shah, while members for the select committee for ‘The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission Bill, 2013’ are Sirajul Haq, Shahram Khan Tarakai, Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan, Sardar Babak and Mohammad Ali.
Responding to the criticism of some opposition members on the transfer of schoolteachers, the chief minister told the house that the PTI-led government would soon introduce transfer policy for teachers.
He said many teachers of government schools couldn’t write ‘two words’ rightly.
Mr Khattak asked all MPAs to visit schools in their respective constituencies and check whether teachers could read and write.
“We will soon implement performance-based promotion policy for teachers. This will motivate teachers to work hard,” he said. Deputy Speaker Imtiaz Shahid, who was chairing the session, later prorogued the session.