The Senate Standing Committee on Water and Power has expressed its serious concerns over the absence of Minister and State Minister for water and power from the committee meeting, saying that they don’t seem serious in resolving the protracted electricity crisis. Chairman of the Committee Senator Zahid Khan said the power crisis is an important national issue and the absence of the ministers reflects that they do not want the committee to help them.
He regretted that the statements of Minister for water and Power Khawaja Asif and State Minister Abid Sher Ali have created problems for the government. Zahid Khan said that the absence of ministers and secretaries from the committee meeting has become a frequent phenomenon and Chairman Senate has already been informed about the issue. He further stated that Chairman Senate on his return from abroad would convene a meeting of all the chairmen of the standing committees to consider the introduction of a legislation for taking action against those Ministers and Secretaries who do not bother to attend the committee’s meetings.
The committee also recommended that all the boards of power distribution companies, formed on a political basis and are creating hurdles should be abolished. The chairman of the committee said that a number of people who had lost elections were made members of the board. The committee also directed Secretary Ministry of Water and Power and Pepco to reverse all those promotions granted by the board, which was formed on political grounds. The committee also decided that the Chief Executives of the power distribution companies would be summoned by the committee if their instructions were not implemented.
Secretary Water and Power Mohammad Younas Dogha informed the committee that the government has decided to postpone the disbanding of Pepco. He added that with the installation of smart meters the role of meter readers would be minimised and consumers’ grievances of over-billing would also be addressed.
The committee members maintained that National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) was responsible for over-billing to power consumers and issued a strong warning to the senior official of Nepra for not appearing before the committee. We will take action against high-ups of Ministry of Water and Power and Nepra if they miss the next meeting of the committee.
The committee also expressed its displeasure over a delay in the completion of Kurram Tangi Dam as it would irrigate about 0.36 acres of land and would also generate 85MW cheap electricity. Chairman WAPDA Zafar Mehmood informed the committee that the delay was largely because the consortium of companies for construction of Kurram Tangi Dam no more exists and the work is not in progress. He further stated that Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) was requested to work on the dam but it did not respond. Upon which, the chairman of the committee remarked that FWO is ready to work in urban areas on the construction of roads and bridges but is not willing to work on Kurram Tangi Dam. The committee has decided with consensus that a letter should be written to the Prime Minister for directing FWO to work on Kurram Tangi Dam. The chairman said that FWO should be asked to work on Kurran Tangi Dam else construction works in urban areas would be withdrawn from the organisation.
SOURCE: RECORDER REPORT