Circular debt increases to alarming level | Pakistan Today

Circular debt increases to alarming level

Circular debt has risen to over Rs360 billion during the last fiscal year, receivables of power sector entities alone have escalated to Rs240 billion while distribution companies (DISCOs) have been given strict directives to show zero tolerance to defaulters. An official of the Ministry of Water and Power said on condition of anonymity that the figures were still not final as many entities were involved, “with these kinds of receivables mainly from the government entities no DISCO could operate profitably.”
Senator Zahid Khan said that the people were facing severe hardships due to prolonged power outages as they could not even pump water for daily usage. He said he was unable to visit his home town as people would pelt him with stones. However he appreciated the recovery of 82 per cent electricity dues by PEPCO adding that majority of the people were not ready to pay their bills as they received electricity for 4 to 6 hours daily. The committee recommended that the government of Punjab should be asked to allow more releases from Mangla dam during Ramadan for hydel generation. It also recommended that the power supplies of all defaulters should remain cut off till all dues were cleared. Earlier, the committee expressed serious concern over the continued absence of concerned minister Syed Naveed Qamar from committee meetings. Senator Zahid Khan said that bureaucrats talked in vague terms and the minister should have been there to give a firm commitment.
The senate standing committee on water and power was given a firm commitment by the secretary water and power Imtiaz Kazi that no load shedding would take place at Sehr and Iftar times during Ramadan. DISCOs have been directed to improve recoveries to purchase more fuel during the holy month. General Manager National Power Control Centre, Masud Akhtar said that no load shedding would take place from 3 am to 5 am in the morning and from 7 pm to 10 pm at night. He said extra hydel power generation would be made to meet the demand of consumers. He said the transmission system was over stretched that resulted in forced power outages.
Secretary Water and Power Imtiaz Kazi clarified that the minister had to attend an important meeting regarding energy issues to be taken up with China. The senators in his rebuttal insisted that the parliamentary committee was more important than any other committee. Members of the committee asked the secretary to give commitment on behalf of the minister that their concerns would be addressed. Kazi assured the committee that their concerns would be conveyed to the minister and their demands would be addressed. Senator Zahid Khan expressed concerns over the slow pace of transmission improvement in the Malakand division. PEPCO representatives informed that the projects for improving power supply were under implementation and would be completed by 2013-14. Imtiaz kazi added that three RPP’s were operational while two other IPP’s will also be linked to the national grid soon.

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