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Call to make multi-pronged strategy to overcome energy crisis

THE participants of a strategic ‘Policy Dialogue on Electricity Sector Reforms” by the Alliance of Policy Makers and Key Energy Stakeholders” have stressed the need to adopt multi-pronged strategy for overcoming power crisis in the country.

The discussion was arranged by the Research Institute of Natural Resources of Pakistan (RINP) in collaboration with USAID at a local hotel. Speaking on the occasion, Punjab Additional Secretary Energy Khalid Awais Ranjha said that the provincial government has decided to exploit available coal resources.

He said 596 million T coal is available in Punjab and government has planned to install 50MW each power plants at mouth of mines to feed power to industries.Ranjha said power plants were also being established for ensuring dedicated power supply. He said CNG should be available only for public transport and not for other vehicles and this resource must be diverted to industry and power generation.

He said the government was also in process of getting tariff of power notified, especially for coal-fired plants. To a question, he said that whatever energy Punjab would produce it will get 68 percent share. He said recently chief minister has signed MoUs with Chinese companies at tariff of 10 to 12 cent per unit power production for Pakistan and this price is less than the basket price.

Talking about issues relating to water sector, Engineer Suleman Najib gave his emotional and realistic presentation and blamed policy makers for flawed Indus Basin Treaty and losing Kishan Ganga case to India. He said crisis of water shortage was worsening with every passing day and even in Lahore the number of cancer patients is increasing with every three minutes to waterborne diseases. He said Kalabagh Dam was still a lifeline for Pakistan and he urged the media to spread awareness on this issue.

Chief Engineer Power Iftikhar Ahmed Randhawa said unfortunately since 1958 we are following the policies of others instead of making our own policies. He said we laid single transmission system in the country and did not allow separate transmission at local level, which is one of the causes of today’s energy issues.

He said that in 1984 we had decided not to install any power plant under public sector and we are facing all electricity related problems due to this blunder at the policy level,” he remarked. He said Pakistan has 45,000MW hydropower capacity, 35,000MW wind energy potential, 180 billion ton coal which is more than the oil reserves of Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

He proposed constructing 50MW solar energy project through only Rs 55 contribution by every Pakistani. A private university Vice Chancellor Dr Sohail Aftab said unfortunately policy maker did not plan for 7-9 percent increase in power demand per annum.

He flayed former general Zulfiqar Ali Khan, the then Wapda chairman, who he said, was responsible for planning energy matter during Gen Musharraf regime. He said more than 20 percent power can be saved through effective management and conservation techniques.

He said use of low power consuming equipment should be encouraged and awareness should be spread in this regards. Dr Naghman Khan from Future Energy stressed the importance of research and innovation in the energy field.

He encouraged the young university graduates to get higher education and pursue for scholarships in energy related disciplines.Meanwhile, participants also demanded the government to fix responsibility of energy crisis in the country and deal with those involved under criminal charges.

They said that people like former Indus Waters Commissioner Jamaat Ali Shah, AGN Abbasi; former chairman technical committee for water resources and other policy makers must be held responsible and made a symbol for others to avoid repetition of such corrupt practices in the future.

Earlier, Ms Manel, Tahmina and Noman gave presentations on the energy issues and proposed policy guidelines. The speakers highlighted alternate sources’ utilisation and means of development, including other critical actions required for electricity sector reforms.

RINP Programme Manager Hisham Bajwa said they are going to implement energy reform programme in Lahore and in first phase they have elected three towns. He said this dialogue of all stakeholders would devise future roadmap to implement electricity reforms in the country.

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