KARACHI: Federal Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan on Friday assured Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah that the gas issue would be resolved soon and the provinces would be given due representation in the federal oil and gas organisations.
Federal Minister for Power Umer Ayub, in a separate meeting, committed that the provincial government would be taken on board in resolving all issues of power projects. In response to his request, the chief minister assured the power minister of his support to the massive drive to be launched against illegal electricity connections in the province.
Ghulam Sarwar and Umer Ayub called on the Sindh chief minister at the CM House separately to learn the point of view of the provincial government on the pressing issues related to gas and energy projects.
The petroleum minister told the CM that he would hold a meeting with the Sui Southern Gas Company officials to take a final decision on the gas supply.
The two sides agreed that a meeting of the provincial representatives with the petroleum minister would be held prior to next session of the Council of Common Interests so that a consensus could be developed to resolve all the issues unanimously.
Murad holds separate meetings with federal ministers for power and petroleum
Earlier, pleading the Sindh case during his meeting with the federal petroleum minister, Chief Minister Shah urged the former to order resumption of proper gas supply to the province. He pointed out the negative impact of the curtailment of supply to Sindh saying it was a violation of Article 158 of the constitution and had rendered thousands of industrial workers and transporters jobless.
During the meeting, the petroleum minister headed a delegation comprising senior officials of his ministry while the chief minister was assisted by Provincial Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh, the CM’s Adviser on Law Murtaza Wahab, Energy Secretary Musaddaq Ahmed Khan and Director of Sindh Energy Department Tariq Shah who also gave a presentation to the participants of the meeting.
Quoting Article 158 which says “the province in which a well-head of natural gas is situated shall have precedence over other parts of Pakistan in meeting the requirements from that well-head,” the chief minister said Sindh produced 2,600 to 2,700 mmcfd daily against which it was being provided a quota of 1,000 to 1,100 mmcfd.
“In Karachi there are 400 industrial units with a workforce of 100,000 employees. The entire industry in the city is facing gas closure for the last three days,” he said and added CNG sector was also facing three-day closure in a week. “This situation is alarming and causing heavy unemployment,” he said.
Mr Shah said Sindh has no presentation in Ogra and proposed that every province should be given representation with one member in the regulator.
Anti-power theft drive
The federal power minister during the meeting informed the chief minister that his ministry was launching a massive drive against kunda and illegal connections in Sindh and requested the chief minister for his support. The chief minister assured him of his government’s support.
Responding to power-related pressing issues in Sindh which were raised during the meeting, the federal minister said he was making the system in his ministry more effective and efficient so that the projects awaiting approval and similar other business could be expedited.
He gave assurance to the chief minister that he would look into all the pending cases of the provincial government and dispose them of accordingly. He also said that the provincial government would be taken on board in resolving all the issues of power projects.
At the start of the meeting, the chief minister drew attention of the federal minister to non-cooperative attitude of the federal government to the Sindh government, saying the provincial government had launched 4,000MW green energy projects in 2015but it still awaited approvals by the federal power division. “How we will be able to meet energy requirements of the people in such circumstances,” Murad Ali Shah asked.
He said renewable energy was the cheapest source of energy not only in Pakistan but worldwide. “The province of Sindh is the energy hub of Pakistan as it has the only successful and economically viable wind corridor, highest solar radiation, biogas, geothermal and waste for energy projects,” he said.
Later the federal petroleum minister also called on Governor of Sindh Imran Ismail at Governor House and discussed with him matters pertaining to gas supply and informed him of the measures being taken to overcome the existing gas shortage.
Published in Dawn, December 15th, 2018