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Punjab CM and energy shortage

May 31, 2012

PUNJAB Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has claimed that loadshedding has caused his province a loss of Rs500 billion, rendered hundreds of thousands of people jobless and made fields barren.

I would like to ask him why he has not established any power policy to attract local and foreign investment and set up plants when the 18th Amendment allows provinces to generate electricity on their own.

Two years back, he signed an agreement with a Chinese company to build a 140 MW hydro-power plant at Tanusa Barrage.

However, people of Pakistan like me are yet to see progress on the project.

There were also a number of hydro-power projects allotted to private companies to build power plants on canals and rivers in Punjab. Why have these projects not been built during the last four years?

It seems that the PML-N government in Punjab has been spending billions of rupees on ‘Sasti Roti, Ashiana Housing’ and laptop distribution schemes to win political popularity but it is ignoring the actual problems being faced by the people.

Perhaps, the PML-N has deliberately not taken any steps to solve the energy shortage problem to damage the credibility of the PPP-led coalition government at the centre.

The federal government, on the other hand, is playing a political gimmick to cover its own inability of finding a potent solution for the energy shortage problem in the country by assigning provinces the ability to generate their own power.

When will Shahbaz Sharif realise that no one will buy his rhetoric?

S.T. HUSSAIN Chief Executive, Consumer Awareness and Welfare Association Lahore

Unfair management

IN the month of May the city of Multan like the rest of Punjab faced crippling power breakdowns which lasted between nine and 14 hours every day.

During the month, I visited Karachi twice: the first time I stayed there for five days and the second time for two days. To my utter surprise I only witnessed a 10-minute breakdown in Phase 5, DHA, where I was staying.

I also paid a visit to Lahore where I have a residence located in Phase 3, DHA.

The power breakdown in Lahore was even worse than in Multan as here the shutdown extended from 12 to 16 hours on a daily basis.

I fail to understand this unfair load management. If Pakistan has acute electricity shortage, then it should be shared equally by all citizens of Pakistan.

According to my host in Karachi, the KESC load management exempts localities like the DHA, where billing is over 80 per cent while in certain localities of Karachi where billing is as low as 56 per cent there is loadshedding which varies from eight to 12 hours a day.

Why this unfair load management by the government in the rest of the country!

The worst loadshedding crisis is in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Balochistan, parts of interior Sindh, while in Karachi the management is proportional to bill recovery.

Since the 1990s, every government, including Musharraf and the present PPP-led coalition, has ignored hydel-power generation and resorted to more expensive electricity because of attractive kickbacks. We have seen corrupt political, khaki and civil bureaucrats politicise every proposal to build dams for hydel-power generation intentionally with ulterior motives.

Today, Pakistan is facing an economic nightmare because of corruption and the greed of a few.