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Power crisis to go by ending circular debt, power theft: experts

The electricity crisis is not going to end before 2016 while temporary relief and control is possible by stopping electricity theft and recovering circular debt. The ongoing protests against power outages across the country, especially in the Punjab, could put the country in a critical position if not controlled.

These views were expressed by the participants in Jang Economic Session on ‘Electricity Crisis – Solution.’ The participants were Wapda Adviser Abdul Khaliq Khan, labour leader Khurshid Ahmed, LCCI former President Perviaz Hanif, FPCCI Energy Committee Vice Chairman Azmat Javeed and student Mojaeeb Riaz. Sikindar Hameed Lodhi and Intikhab Tariq hosted the event.

Abdul Khaliq Khan said the power shortfall increased to 8,000 megawatt from 1,200 megawatt in five years. He said Wapda had sufficient number of experts and engineers but lacked resources to increase electricity generation. He said closure of businesses at 8pm or weekly two holidays would not resolve the electricity crisis while purchasing power from other countries was also not easy. He said purchase of electricity from Tajikistan would take seven to eight years and from India four years.

Similarly, gas from Iran will take minimum five years and electricity production from Thar Coal would take six to seven years. He said Pakistan needed annual extra $2 billion to complete hydro power projects of Kalabagh, Bhasha, Kohala and Nelam Jhelum by 2022.

Khurshid Ahmed said new connections had not been stopped for the last four and a half years while government announced Rs 9 billion to resolve the crisis but it would not be resolved by this money. He said the government could increase power generation by cutting gas supply to CNG stations and ensuring fuel supplies to thermal generation units.

Perviaz Hanif said circular debt was real problem of energy crisis. He said actually circular debt had increased to Rs 500 billion while the present government was the worst-ever government of Pakistan. He said the government had presented five budgets with more than one trillion rupees deficit.

Azmat Javeed said hydel power generation had reduced to 30 percent from 70 percent. He said good governance was required to resolve energy crisis. He said immediate action should be taken against electricity theft while work should be started on solar, wind and atomic energy generation.

Mojaeeb Riaz said the Punjab government instead of starting rapid bus transit in Lahore should have spent the huge funds on energy generation projects. He said social problems were growing due to energy crisis.

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