ANP energy conference: ‘Decentralise power system to ease crisis’

ANP energy conference

PESHAWAR: Participants of the energy conference held here on Thursday demanded that the centre transfer the management of power generation units and distribution network to provinces.

“Representatives of political parties, trade bodies and social activists felt that the existing system of power production and distribution is responsible for the current power crisis in the country, concurring that it should be delegated to the federating units,” Afrasiab Khattak, provincial chief of Awami National Party, told reporters during a briefing about the conference.

Convened by ANP, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter, the conference rejected the government of Punjab’s proposal it tabled before the Council of Common Interest about load management by provinces on equal basis.“The proposal is not workable and hence, it was not supported,” he said, reiterating that the resolution of the existing crisis lied in the delegation of the power generation and distribution mechanism to provinces by the centre.He said the conference concurred that the federal government should be asked to stop the centralised load management system, recovery of electricity dues should be improved, and Water and Power Development Authority’s line losses should be curtailed.

“The savings accrued by implementing these recommendations (above mentioned) should be spent on the procurement of oil to improve power production in the country, ending the crisis,” said Mr Khattak.Pakistan People’s Party Senator Sardar Ali, provincial chief of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid Qasim Shah, Pakhtunkhwa Mili Awami Party’s Arbab Mujeebur Rehman, Federally Administered Tribal Areas Senator Abbas Afridi, National Party’s Mukhtiar Bacha, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Afan Aziz and social activist Rakhshanda Naz attended the conference.

Opposition parties in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly, including Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, PPP-Sherpao and other opposition parties, including Jamaat-i-Islami, Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf and even Mazdoor Kisan Party, had already refused to attend what initially was being held as an ‘all parties conference.’Mr Khattak criticised opposition parties for their absence and said power crisis was a problem of the entire province and not only the responsibility of the parties in power.The opposition parties, said Mr Khattak, tried to take political advantage by boycotting the conference, attempting to undermine the effectiveness of the initiative.

“We were hopeful that opposition parties would attend the conference by upholding the rich traditions of the province, but it was unfortunate that they use it as an opportunity to political point scoring,” said Mr Khattak.ANP, he said, had also convened energy conferences on two occasions. The opposition parties, he added, that boycotted the Wednesday’s conference had attended the earlier meetings.“On those two occasions, we had shared our policy with them, which they approved,” said Mr Khattak.Meanwhile, participants of the energy conference, according to Mr Khattak, were briefed about the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s ongoing power generation projects.

He said following the power department’s briefing, provincial chief minister Ameer Haider Hoti issued directives to the relevant quarters for analysing the possibilities of setting up small hydel power generation units at canals and looking into the prospects of producing electricity by utilising gas.He said the province had the capacity to produce electricity by utilising gas in the short term and wind energy in the longer run.

He said senators belonging to ANP and PPP were discussing the issue of non-payment of the full amount of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s net hydel profit by Wapda.“We will soon raise this issue at the Senate because we believe the province should get Rs30 billion to Rs40 billion annually on account of hydel profit and not the existing amount of Rs6 billion,” said Mr Khattak.The recommendations and decisions of the energy conference, said ANP provincial chief, would be reviewed and approved by the provincial cabinet following which these would be formally forwarded to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf. – Dawn