KARACHI: While the ongoing electricity crisis has plagued the lives of Karachi residents, the power situation is just as bad throughout Sindh as the federal government is not serious about handling the problem of blackouts in the province.
Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh said this on Friday when he gave a policy statement on the electricity crisis in the Sindh Assembly.
He stated in the DPR that the worst form of burden relief was being carried out in Sindh. He added that he had held meetings with officials of K-Electric (KE), the Hyderabad Electricity Supply Company and Sukkur Electricity Company to get direct information about the electricity problem.
Shaikh told the PA that KE officials told him that the federal government had not supplied enough furnace oil to electric utilities. He blamed the federal government for the deteriorating burden release situation in Sindh and reminded legislators that the federal government still had a 27 percent stake in EC despite privatization.
The energy minister said electricity consumers in rural Sindh had to experience power cuts for up to 18 hours a day while they had to pay exorbitant fees to consume electricity on behalf of a ‘bill of detection’.
The federal government’s inefficient and erroneous policies are responsible for the ongoing electricity crisis, he said, adding that the federal government has imposed a ban on furnace oil imports when oil prices have dropped phenomenally around the world. He stated that the EC had failed to follow the agreement signed with the government regarding the city’s electricity affairs.
The federal government must apologize to the Sindh people for allegations that electricity consumers in the province have been involved in the theft of electricity, Shaikh said. He added that Pakistan’s ruling Tehreek-e-Insaf was responsible for the power crisis in Sindh, and leaders and lawmakers from the same party had staged the drama by holding a protest rally outside the KE headquarters in the city. “What kind of protest happens when the participants receive water, juice and food from K-Electric.”
He regretted that the federal energy minister had not visited Sindh since the rise of the electricity crisis in the province. “The federal Energy Minister must show seriousness because he has to sit better with the Sindh government to resolve this issue.” The statement against the federal government caused a stir in PA when the opposition clashed with treasury MPs. Due to the resulting chaos, Agha Speaker Siraj Khan Durrani delayed the session until July 27.
Mass transit projects Previously, speaking during the question hour session, Transportation Minister Sindh Syed Awais Qadir Shah acknowledged that there had been uncontrolled delays in carrying out mass transit projects in Karachi. He said an agreement had been signed with the Asian Development Bank to get a loan to build part of the Red Line of the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) in Karachi. He added that buses that will operate in the BRTS Red Line section will consume bio-gas and tenders for the project will be invited next month.
The transportation minister told the house that agents under federal government administration were responsible for testing CNG cylinders in vehicles. He stated that the provincial government did not have the authority to stop the use of CNG cylinders that were damaged inside the vehicle.
CNG stations must be bound not to fill broken cylinders, he said. He also stated that the provincial transportation authority did not get the cooperation needed from the police for actions against transport operators who violated the law.
He said that the ban previously imposed on schools for banning the use of CNG cylinders was still intact and that correspondence had also been made with the Sindh education department to ensure the implementation of the ban.