ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) on Friday decided to keep 50pc of the lights along roads shut to save energy. The decision will be implemented from today (Saturday).
“Following the government’s directive, the CDA has decided to keep 50pc road lights closed,” said an official statement issued by the CDA. It said this step was being taken to save energy, adding, however, all streetlights in the residential sectors will remain functional to avoid inconvenience to the citizens.
According to CDA officials, there are more than 40,000 street and road lights in the city and until recent years, the CDA had been paying a hefty amount to Islamabad Electricity Supply Company (Iesco) as there were no meters installed. However, last year, the CDA managed to get 585 meters installed in the city whereas it has planned to install another 40 meters. The case is being vigorously pursued by the Engineering Wing.
“We have already paid a fee to Iesco and soon, they will install our remaining meters as well,” said an engineer, adding that on average, the civic agency pays a bill of over Rs60 million monthly to Iesco, which is less than the lump sum amount, which the CDA used to pay without the metering system.
Decision not to be implemented in residential sectors
Meanwhile, the CDA, through the Alternative Energy Development Board is also in the process of getting a solar system installed for all its buildings and water works and tubewells.
It is relevant to note here that recently the federal government had decided to close markets by 8:30pm as part of the Energy Conservation Plan, under which all wedding halls were to be closed at 10pm and markets and malls were to be closed at 8:30pm. The government has been expecting that it could save Rs62 billion by restricting working hours of wedding halls, restaurants and markets. Besides this, the government also decided to impose additional duty on inefficient electric fans to save Rs15 billion.
Though, the decision was forcefully opposed by the previous provincial governments of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa mostly on political grounds, the federal government even failed to implement the decision in the federal capital where traders association staged a number of protests and refused to follow the orders.
On the other hand, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif reportedly declared that the government was determined to save energy consumption by adopting drastic measures that would require the nation to make “radical changes in lifestyle”.
The minister had stated that the entire world, except Pakistan, opened for business in the morning and downed shutters by sunset.
“But the situation is starkly different in our country as markets remain open till late in the night, causing a colossal waste of energy”, he had said.
Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2023
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