ISLAMABAD - Expressing deep concerns over recent unprecedented power tariff hike, the members of Senate Standing Committee on Water and Power, on Friday, unanimously urged the government to restore old power prices instead of putting extra burden on the weak shoulders of over-burdened masses.
The meeting also witnessed altercation between a Junior Power Minister Abid Sher Ali and the senate body chairman Zahid Khan as the former blamed Pashtuns for electricity theft.
The meeting of Senate body was held here under the chairmanship of Awami National Party (ANP) Senator Zahid Khan in the premises of Parliament House on Friday. Chairman Water & Power Development Authority (WAPDA), managing director National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC), chairman NEPRA, officials of power ministry and Planning Commission also attended the meeting.
During the meeting, chairman Senate body and State Minister for Water & Power Abid Sher Ali exchanged hot words over the allegations of involvement of Pushtuns in electricity theft.
The ANP Senator requested Abid Sher Ali to avoid levelling such blames on Pushtuns. Upon this, the state minister for water & power said,” he is not blaming but placing the real facts and figures instead.”
The state minister also asked chairman Senate body to avoid politicking in the committee meeting and to play due role for stopping electricity theft.
On finding the altercation between the two, representative of Sindh stood up and criticised both members saying that in each and every meeting Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) issue is discussed and the committee has no care about Sindh and its people.
However, the issue was brought under control and all members took their seats, other members of the standing committee interrupted to resolve the mess created by both young and seasoned politicians in the meeting.
The Senate body has sought detailed official documentary evidence with regard to the tender of Neelum Jehlum hydropower project and also required details of losses of power distributing companies (Discos) in next meeting of Senate standing on water & power.
During the entire course of meeting, the managing director of NTDC Muhammad Zia-ur-Rehman could not satisfy the Senate body over the questions raised by members of the body with regard to award of tender of Neelum-Jehlum hydropower project to a Chinese company and also the process of approval of said tender. MD NTDC badly failed to prove implementation of PPRA Rules (Public Procurement Rules) in letter and spirit in the award of tender of 978mw hydropower project. Failure in satisfying the member’s query has raised questions pertaining transparency in the award of tender and violation of relevant PPRA Rules.
On finding series of questions over the transparency in the award of tender of Neelum Jehlum hydropower project, Abid Sher Ali gave his assurance to the Senate body that real picture would be shared with parliament and public.
Senator Mohsin Legahri while speaking on the occasion asked the government to immediately take concrete measure to resolve the acute water crisis of the country besides prevailing power crisis.
Senator Khalida Perveen seriously annoyed over rising power shortfall as countrymen are worried over continued long hours load shedding despite payment of Rs480 billion heavy amount to end the circular debt.
Senator Maula Bukhsh Chandio proposed the government to include power projects of Sindh province in the agenda.
Senator Humayun Khan Mandokhel was of the view that all political forces to stand unite and place themselves on same page in the efforts to resolve the ongoing power crisis of the country.