KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Saturday told the K-Electric (KE) and the Sui Southern Gas Company Ltd (SSGCL) that he would not allow them to punish the people of Karachi merely because of disputes between the two entities.

The chief minister presided over a meeting at CM House which was attended by SSGC chairman of board of directors retired Lt-Gen Javed Zia and other senior officials.

The KE was represented by its chairman Waqar Siddiqui and CEO Tayyab Tareen and other senior officials.

The chief minister said Karachi was facing a severe increase in loadshedding for which the KE blamed the SSGCL for reduced gas supply.

The SSGCL denied and claimed that 90mmcfd gas was being supplied against the old agreement of 10mmcfd signed in 1970s.

The chief minister said amid claims and counterclaims between the two organisations, people of Karachi were the ultimate sufferers during the sweltering weather.

‘People of Karachi are ultimate sufferers’

The KE has four gas-based power plants which require 180mmcfd gas to generate 1,104 megawatts electricity.

The SSGCL “has significantly curtailed gas supply to the KE and the current supply is 90mmcfd”. The average for 2017 was 141mmcfd.

CM Shah was told that there was a billing dispute between the KE and the SSCGL.

According to the KE outstanding balance towards SSGCL is Rs13.7bn while SSGCL says the receivable is Rs80bn.

Now the matter is pending in the Sindh High Court.

The chief minister said the peak demand for summer was expected to be around 3,400MW.

He added that KE required at least 190mmcfd supply of gas to ensure smooth supply of power to domestic and industrial consumers.

Mr Shah said with the gas supply at the current level of 90mmcfd the power shortfall would further increase by 500MW in addition to the exiting shortfall of 400MW in peak summer.

“This means the people of this city, including the industrial units, would have to face more than 10-hour loadshedding,” he said, adding, “this is unacceptable”.

He urged the two entities to sit together on Monday and by Wednesday sort out their differences and by Thursday he wanted a solution to the problem.

“The people of Karachi cannot be punished further,” he said.

CM visits school in Lyari

Murad Ali Shah on Saturday said public private partnership (PPP) in education sector had produced “best results” and one of the success stories was “the toddlers who speak fluent English at a school in Lyari”.

He was speaking to administration, teaching staff and students at the DCTO English Medium High School in Lyari being run on PPP by Kiran Foundation.

He said the government’s vision brought excellent outcomes.

He said Lyari was once a beautiful, peaceful and vibrant neighbourhood of Karachi.

The CM was informed that the DCTO, named after philanthropist Deep Chand T. Ojha who built it, was an old Sindhi-medium school in Lyari established in 1930s.

The government handed over the school to the private organisation in 2016.

“The most encouraging move I have witnessed at DCTO school is that parents, particularly mothers, are given proper training to handle their kids at home,” CM Shah said.

“These children who live in Lyari and have recently liberated themselves from the clutches of gangsters are speaking fluent English and have good knowledge of history and geography. I

assure you they are our future,” the CM said.

Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2018