Govt in negotiation with IPPs over pricing: Qureshi

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Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that a big breakthrough has happened in connection with the creation of south Punjab and people have not its realization. — AFP/File
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that a big breakthrough has happened in connection with the creation of south Punjab and people have not its realization. — AFP/File

MULTAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the government wanted reduction in the rates of independent power producers (IPPs) and Prime Minister Imran Khan had discussed the matter with IPPs.

Addressing a ceremony of the inauguration of 132-kv grid station at Fatima Jinnah Housing Scheme here on Sunday, the foreign minister said that the PTI government had taken off and time to facilitate to the masses had come.

“The government wants to revise the agreements with IPPs and prime minister Imran Khan had talked with the IPPS to reduce the electricity rates. A number of sessions took place and the rates of electricity will reduce after the new agreements. The previous government installed new power plants to overcome the shortage of electricity but it did agreements with the IPPs at high cost which resulted into hike in the electricity tariff. Wrong and faulty planning not only damaged the agricultural sector but there was an increase in tariff as well, “ he said.

He said that work on solar energy is also underway and when the projects of solar energy and hydropower will start working together the electricity will be available at low tariff. He said work on any new dam project could not take place during the tenures of previous governments.

“Our government has started work on the construction of Diamir Bhasha Dam which will be completed within seven years,” he said. He said that prime minister had announced historic relief package for the construction industry which will help to flourish the industry.

He said that providing the facilities of electricity, gas, education and health to the masses is the top priority of the government and the government wants bring easiness in the lives of the people.

He said that he held a detailed meeting with the Chief Executive Officer Multan Electric and Power Company and directed him to ensure the uninterrupted power supply to the people of south Punjab besides addressing the complaints of the people in connection with services.

He said that with the installation of new grid station 40,000 domestic, 5,000 commercial and 500 industrial connections will be available while 14 new feeders will be installed as well.

“The project will be completed with the cost of Rs51 million,” he said.

He directed the authorities concerned to take measures for gas supply in Fatima Jinnah Housing Scheme.

Earlier inaugurating newly reconstructed Shah Shams Disposal Station, the foreign minister said that a big breakthrough has happened in connection with the creation of south Punjab and people have not its realization.

“In past the funds of the districts of south Punjab were shifted (to upper Punjab) and a project which would have to take one year to complete took 10 years while the cost of those projects was also increased which resulted into hardship of the people,” he said.

He said 40 million population of 13 districts of south Punjab will get separate annual development program in forthcoming budget.

“The funds of 13 districts of Multan, Bahawalpur and Dera Ghazi Khan divisions will not be shifted to upper Punjab now. The next phase is the establishment of civil secretariat in Multan. Temporary offices for the secretaries of south Punjab are being established in Circuit House Multan while for permanent secretariat the case to get hundreds of kanal land adjoining to new judicial complex has been moved. In past for the approval of development projects and fund we have to go Lahore but now tasks will be done in Multan,” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2020