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Decision on subsidised power to tube-wells likely to be annulled

The bureaucracy is all set to withdraw the cabinet decision regarding provision of electricity to tube-wells at a flat rate of Rs8 per unit with reduction of Rs2 per unit for farmer’s community across the country.

The decision was taken on the ground that it was not doable on account of acute financial constraints.

The PPP government approved the said decision on March 7, 2013 basically to allure the landlords of the country to clinch the general elections and currently the terrorism beleaguered PPP is seen getting the credit in the advertisements for the solace it gave to the farmers.

Sources said the finance ministry recently asked the water and power ministry to place a summary before the caretaker cabinet seeking the annulment of the decision on flat rate as caretaker financial managers and bureaucracy found no fiscal space to absorb the impact of the decision of flat rate for farmer community.

The impact of reduction in power tariff for agriculture tube wells has been worked out at Rs16.54 billion.

The sources said that Ministry of Water and Power had refused to comply with the suggestions of the finance ministry, arguing that it was not opposed to the decision taken by the cabinet of the PPP government.

“And, in case the finance ministry is opposed to the decision, then it should itself move the summary to federal cabinet to get the decision reversed,” said an official of the power ministry.

The power ministry also came up with the rational, mentioning that under the rules of business, in case any pertaining ministry does not act as per the decision of the federal cabinet, then it will be liable to face legal proceedings. Therefore, if the finance ministry wants to undo the decision, then it should itself move the summary.

The federal cabinet of the coalition government headed by PPP had approved the flat rate of Rs8 per unit on March 7, 2013. After the decision, a committee comprising the officials of both the ministries was constituted to work out how to implement the decision and ultimately the same committee issued the orders on April 5 to all the electric power distribution companies to reduce the power tariff by Rs2 from Rs10 to Rs8 per unit for tube wells.

Under the decision, the finance ministry was to provide the subsidy of Rs16.5 billion per annum. “In the light of the decisions of the committee, the finance ministry was to issue the notification, which has so far not been issued. The decision of the federal cabinet meeting of the PPP government has not been enforced,” the official said.

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