The provincial government allocated Rs10 billion this year and Rs9 billion in the previous budget to overcome the energy crisis in the province. There is a full-fledged secretariat, dozens of employees and a dedicated minister, but no progress on fixing the problem of energy shortfall in Punjab has been seen for the past 15 months.
At present, there is a demand-supply gap of about 4,000MW in Punjab that is increasing at the rate of 6 per cent per annum. With 68 per cent of the consumption of generated power and gas, Punjab is worst-affected by energy shortfall and the province has been facing both power and gas loadshedding with serious social and economic consequences.
The provincial government had established the Energy Department after the 18th Amendment empowered the provinces to set up own power generation plants of up to 50MW capacity.
Sources said Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz was disappointed over the performance of the department, but an official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, complained that the provincial government had not released allocated funds to the department.
The official said they had not been granted funds in past three months while legal issues of power tariff determination with the federal government were yet to be resolved.
It has been learnt that the department had completed feasibility studies of five small hydel projects but could not find investors. “Foreign investors are unwilling to invest in Pakistan due to security reasons while banks are reluctant to loaning,” the officials maintained. About 62 various projects of about 1,800MW capacity have been pending due to different reasons, said the sources, adding that 18 projects of 629MW capacity are in public sector, two of 420MW are joint venture while 42 projects of 829MW are in private sector.