Punjab rioting: Protests bring ‘power’ brokers to Presidency

Published: May 11, 2012

President Zardari conducting a special session in Aiwan Saddar on energy crisis prevalent in the country. PHOTO: APP

ISLAMABAD: 

As power shortfall hit 8,000 megawatts on Thursday, protests fanned across Punjab, prompting the president to convene an emergency meeting on the energy crisis late Thursday night.

The meeting decided that Term Finance Certificates (TFCs) worth Rs82 billion will be floated to address the lingering issue of circular debt in order to deal with unabated power outages across the country.

The TFCs will be floated after the approval of the Economic Coordination Committee, which is scheduled to meet next Tuesday.

Earlier, concerned authorities were considering floating TFCs worth Rs70 billion from the reserves of the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited.

Authorities hope they will be able to settle the circular debt under the proposed TFCs floating formula.

They claim that the new proposal will generate Rs450 to 500 billion to clear the circular debt.

The power shortfall is likely to increase in the coming days when temperatures, along with the demand of electricity, will further jump in the peak summer months.

As a temporary measure, the government has released Rs7 billion of which Rs4 billion will go to the state-owned PSO, a major provider of furnace oil to Independent Power Producers.

According to an official handout, Water & Power Minister Syed Naveed Qamar briefed the meeting about Thursday’s incident that resulted in massive power failure in different parts of the country.

Petroleum Minister Dr Asim Hussain also briefed the meeting on the supply of furnace oil and gas to power plants.

He said that the supply of oil and gas has been ensured, which would stabilise power generation by Friday morning.

During the meeting, President Zardari emphasised that there was a great need for coordination at all levels and directed all federal government functionaries dealing with oil, gas and power to remain in Islamabad for the next week and meet regularly for monitoring the situation as well as to take immediate corrective measures to rectify it.

Earlier, while talking to reporters, Qamar claimed that unannounced load-shedding will end in 24 hours. Qamar said that the abrupt shortfall in power generation was due to a technical fault in some power plants and added that measures were being taken on an emergency basis.

“Protests and damaging property is not a solution of this issue,” he said.

Criticising the Punjab government, Qamar asserted that three provinces have started implementing the decision of the energy conference but the fourth, which had demanded to call the moot, was not doing so.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Lahoriii
    May 11, 2012 - 6:01AM

    Shameless, how unfortunate we are. Promises after promises broken and look were we stand now; no water, no electricity, back to the stone ages I guess :(

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  • Mubashir
    May 11, 2012 - 6:05AM

    4 years in power and a million promises later… they still surprise me with their audacity in blaming previous Governments. 12000 Billion rupees loaned in 4 years and they weren’t able to settle the 300 billion circular debt. What a Joke.

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  • Silent Spectator
    May 11, 2012 - 6:55AM

    Now that the election season is approaching, our ‘concerned’ President suddenly decides to convene an emergency meeting. Where was he for the last 4 years? Oh I forgot, he was chilling in his air-conditioned palaces that never have load-shedding. How can the people of Pakistan expect anything from these rulers who have nothing in common with the aam awaam?

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  • athar mahmood
    May 11, 2012 - 8:40AM

    Mr.Qamar’s media talk will never end our thrust for electricity.they have to take some concrete measure in order to provide electricity to punjab’s people.

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  • Ammad Malik
    May 11, 2012 - 10:54AM

    @athar

    I suggest you re-direct that question to CM Punjab. As per the common argument, we (Punjab) had enough time to develop our own generation capacity. No?

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  • Naveen Shah
    May 11, 2012 - 9:09PM

    Zardari-haters, for genuine reasons or personal vendetta, had been predicting that he would not spend New Year’s Eve in the Presidency. Making that a starting point for the PPP government to get squashed or emasculated, our fortune-tellers have been projecting different scenarios. This has not happened and the PPP government, along with President Zardari, is still in place. Media pundits have been forecasting on the basis of their past experiences when, apparently, the overthrow or demise of the ruler at the top, resulted in a total overhaul or change of the system. But in current scenario any move to dislodge incumbent stake holders of Govt would open a new chapter of clash. However President Zardari or the PPP government is mandated by masses for the five years, could be sent packing only by an outright military takeover, although some forces are using Judiciary instead of military at this point. It might also be a wise tactics to create situation by using Judiciary, so that military top brass forced to crush the democratic Govt under its boots. In fact this situation does augur well neither for PPP and democracy nor for Judiciary. Judiciary must avoid the clash if does want to keep its respect in minds and hearts of people.

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