Economy adversely affected by power, gas woes: Zardari

September 3, 2012

President Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday chaired a meeting of senior party leadership from Sindh and some members of the provincial cabinet here at Bilawal House in Karachi. The President also chaired another meeting to review the current energy situation in which he directed ministries of petroleum, finance and water and power to work in unison and take concerted measures to end electricity and gas load-shedding.

Meanwhile, the President said that the government could no longer afford persistent power and gas outages, as the energy shortage was adversely impacting national economy. Urging ministries of petroleum, finance and water and power to work in unison, he said officials concerned should take “concerted and co-ordinated steps to end electricity and gas load-shedding”.

The meeting, also held at Bilawal House, reviewed the current energy situation and progress on various measures being taken to overcome power shortage. The President ordered the authorities concerned to regularly update him about the power situation and said that the government accorded a high priority to improve the domestic energy situation.

This meeting was attended, among others, by Minister for Water and Power Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Petroleum Dr Asim Hussain, Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Secretary-General M Salman Faruqui, Fianance Secretary Abdul Wajid Rana, Secretary Water and Power Zafar Mehmood, Secretary Petroleum Dr Waqar Masood and Chairman Wapda Shakeel Durrani.

Briefing the meeting about the latest power situation, Ahmed Mukhtar said that various immediate measures taken by the government had helped reduce the supply-demand gap.

Expressing the hope that the power generation situation would further improve with rising water levels in reservoirs after recent rains, the minister said that the power situation was “steadily improving”.

The Chairman of Wapda briefed the meeting about various hydel power projects, including Allai Khwar (Battagram), Jinnah Hydropower (Mianwali), Gomal Zam Dam (South Waziristan Agency), Satpara Dam (Skardu), Duber Khwar (Kohistan), Jabban Hydropower (Malakand) and Laraib hydropower project. He said that 487 megawatts would be inducted into the national grid by March next year.

The meeting was informed that Tarbela Dam was likely to be filled soon while Mangla Dam had been filled to a level of over 1,180 feet against a maximum level of 1,230 feet.

The meeting was also briefed about the progress made in the construction of Diamir-Bhasha dam and efforts being made to attract funds for the project. Adviser to the PM on Petroleum Dr Asim Hussain briefed the meeting about the availability of gas and fuel for power generation.

According to a press handout, the first meeting was attended, among others, by Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Pir Mazharul Haq, Muhammad Ayaz Soomro, Agha Siraj Khan Durrani, Syed Murad Ali Shah, Rafique Engineer, Abdul Qadir Patel, Rashid Hussain Rabbani and federal Law Minister Farook H. Naek.

This meeting discussed the domestic political situation, matters relating to coalitions at the centre and Sindh, local bodies” election in Sindh, development issues, flood situation and the law and order situation in the province, especially Karachi.

The Chief Minister briefed the meeting on steps being taken to maintain the law and order situation in Karachi, including equipping personnel of law-enforcement agencies with modern tools to effectively fight crime. The President stressed the need for restoring law and order and stability in the province, besides calling for protecting lives and property of the citizens in the port city. No comprise would be made in this regard, he said.

Condemning incidents of violence in Karachi, the President ordered the authorities concerned to tackle criminals and everyone involved in disturbing peace in Karachi should be tackled with an iron hand regardless of their political affiliations.

The Chief Minister also apprised the President about the meeting between PPP and MQM”s core committees. The President also advised lawmakers and party”s office-bearers to reach out to the people in Sindh and enhance contacts with voters of their respective constituencies for addressing their issues as part of party”s preparations for the general elections which would be held on time.-PR