Cabinet grills power secy over load shedding | Pakistan Today

Cabinet grills power secy over load shedding

Water and Power Secretary Imtiaz Qazi on Wednesday came under heavy fire in the federal cabinet for poor performance of the ministry and its failure to announce a proper schedule of load shedding for the country and recover billions of rupees outstanding with the defaulters.
Qazi faced severe criticism by the cabinet when he admitted that there was no improvement in load shedding hours despite the fact that the federal government had provided reserves of oil and gas. “Despite provision of gas and oil to the IPPs, there has been no improvement in load shedding during the past ten days, as when power generation improved, the summer heat intensified and increased the gap between power generation and consumption,” a source quoted secretary water and power as telling the cabinet.
Qazi said power generation was 12,500MW, while the demand was 18,500MW, the difference of 6,000MW meant the ministry had to conduct load shedding. “The secretary also asked the government to provide another 28,000 metric tones of furnace oil for power generation. He said that the Ministry of Oil and Gas was providing 93 mmcfd of gas but the IPPs needed 207 mmcfd gas to generate another 800MW. He said if the gas and furnace oil were provided, the power shortage might be lessened,” the source said. The presentation invited severe criticism by ministers having rural background. “Your poor performance is costing the government heavily. People at the grassroots are very unhappy. Even tube-wells are not being provided electricity in severe heat. If the situation is not addressed, crops will die of water scarcity and angry villagers would in turn destroy our elections,” the source quoted Mian Manzoor Wattoo, the minister for Kashmir Affairs, as saying. Wattoo said the Water and Power Ministry had failed to announce a proper load shedding schedule despite setting up a monitoring system and even the minister was unaware of the load shedding schedule. PML-Q minister for Industries Anwar Ali Cheema also joined in and made several remarks against the ministry officials. Taking the water and power secretary to task, Cheema said billions of rupees were being dumped into the ministry without any improvement.
“Why do you people bring a new charter of demand every time you come to the cabinet and seek more funds? Why don’t you focus on improving the recovery system? If you can’t recover billions of rupees from defaulters, handover the recoveries to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA),” Cheema said. However, the prime minister intervened and directed the secretary to improve power generation and discuss the matter with other stakeholders.
Cabinet Agenda: Meanwhile an official handout said the cabinet unanimously endorsed the decision of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) for reopening Ground Lines of Communication (GLOCs) to and fro Afghanistan. On the occasion, the prime minister said that it was the vindication of Pakistan’s principled stand after the unfortunate incident of Salala. The prime minister said the US would have to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty in order to further the relationship that was enduring, strategic and carefully defined for peace and security in the region.
In a briefing for the media later, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said the reopening of supply routes for NATO forces was not a question of victory or defeat, but an issue of Pakistan’s principled stance on Salala attack, which had been accepted by the US.

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