Treasury, opposition decry power and gas cuts in KP assembly

Published July 31, 2021
Awami National Party member Khushdil Khan said the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) subjected the people on the outskirts of Peshawar to 20-22 hours long loadshedding during Eid days. — Dawn/File
Awami National Party member Khushdil Khan said the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) subjected the people on the outskirts of Peshawar to 20-22 hours long loadshedding during Eid days. — Dawn/File

PESHAWAR: The treasury and opposition benches in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Friday hit out at the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) for subjecting consumers in the province to the excessive power and gas cuts.

Speaking on a point of order during a session chaired by Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani, special assistant to the chief minister on industries and commerce Abdul Karim Khan said the shortage of gas and electricity was impeding industrialisation in the province.

“This province can’t move forward unless the issue of loadshedding is addressed,” he said urging the Wapda to install grid stations to sustain load.

Mr Karim said the existing power system couldn’t sustain 1150MW load.

Through a point of order, Awami National Party member Khushdil Khan highlighted the issue of power and gas outages in KP.

Minister insists major hydropower projects to resolve energy crisis

He said the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) subjected the people on the outskirts of Peshawar to 20-22 hours long loadshedding during Eid days.

Mr Khushdil said power outages caused the shortage of drinking water.

“For the first time, domestic consumers experienced gas crisis in the summer season, which is beyond comprehension,” he said.

The lawmaker complained that the Pesco chief executive and senior officials didn’t take the complaints seriously.

MPA Fazal Elahi, who belongs to the ruling PTI, called Wapda a ‘dead body’ and proposed that Chief Minister Mahmood Khan constitute a joint committee of the treasury and opposition to take up power crisis with the prime minister.

Housing minister Amjad Ali Khan supported the opposition’s point of order and lamented the attitude of the Pesco officials.

He said he recently had heated exchanges with the Pesco officials over the excessive loadshedding in Swat and delay in the installation of transformers despite advance payments.

MPA of the opposition Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal Mian Nisar Gul said the SNGPL had begun gas outages in Karak though the district produced surplus natural gas.

He said the people had protested power and gas cuts and complained that they’d to use burn wood to cook food despite being the residents of a gas producing district.

PTI MPA from Bannu Pakhtun Yar Khan said power consumers in southern districts of the province were subjected to power cuts for more than 22 hours daily.

ANP parliamentary leader Sardar Hussain Babak said power crisis in KP could be resolved through the implementation of the AGN Qazi formula.

He urged the centre to ensure early payment of dues to KP on account of net hydel profit.

Labour minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai blamed the previous PML-N government in the centre for the prevailing energy crisis.

“The PML-N government opted for generating electricity from coal, which was very expensive compared with water,” he said.

The minister said the energy crisis would be resolved after the completion of major hydel projects in the province.

PTI member Qalandar Khan Lodhi, who was sacked as the adviser to the chief minister lately, regretted the statement attributed to the government’s spokesperson about his removal due to poor performance.

“Those remarks have hurt the feelings of my voters,” he said.

Mr Lodhi said his department’s performance was hailed in official documents released on June 30.

“All of a sudden, the situation changed and my performance was declared poor, which is very unfair,” said Mr Lodhi, who had been winning elections since 2002.

The house referred an identical calling attention notice moved by MPAs Inayatullah Khan and Khushdil Khan to the standing committee on establishment.

The lawmakers expressed reservations about the introduction of a new policy by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Public Service Commission for short-listing candidates for the PMS examination.

They said the commission had overstepped Rule 6 of the KP Public Service Commission (functions) Rules, 1983, by introducing screening test for candidates before the written exam. The MPAs said thousands of eligible candidates had been deprived of the chance to sit the PMS exam through the new policy.

They added that the aspiring candidates had set up a protest camp in Peshawar.

Also, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Registration of Godowns Bill, 2021, was introduced in the assembly.

Meanwhile, PPP MPA Nighat Yasmin Orakzai has submitted the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Civic Education Commission Bill to the assembly’s secretariat to ‘foster civic competence and responsibility amongst citizens, especially the new generation’.

Published in Dawn, July 31st, 2021

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