Before taking office, the new premier received plenty of flak for his failure as water and power minister.
Little surprise, therefore, that the first meeting he held, on his first day at work, was on energy.
Acknowledging that his predecessor was on the right track vis-à-vis resolving the energy crisis, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf approved a raft of measures that would help alleviate the power shortage.
“I do not feel there should be any change in policies given by [former prime minister Yousaf Raza] Gilani, but the special committee on energy constituted by the federal cabinet would keep monitoring the situation and their ideas and suggestions would be implemented thoroughly,” Prime Minister Ashraf said at the energy meeting on Saturday.
Additional fuel, gas for power
The meeting also decided that the petroleum ministry will ensure the supply of 28,000 tons of fuel daily to the power sector to add 1,200 megawatts of electricity to the national grid. Earlier, 2,000 tons of fuel was being supplied to power plants for energy production.
The participants also decided to provide 15 million cubic feet (of gas) per day (mmcfd) to Gas Turbine Power Station, Faisalabad which would add another 65 MW to the national grid.
The meeting also discussed providing an additional 100 mmcfd of gas supply to Karachi Electricity Supply Corporation (KESC) to produce 300 MWs of electricity, and then reducing its share from Wapda by the same amount to ease the load shedding burden on the rest of the country.
Additional gas to power plants will be made available by suspending the supply of gas to the industrial and captive power sector in Sindh and Punjab for one more day in the week. The suspension will make available 66 and 150 mmcfd of gas, in Punjab and Sindh respectively, for use in the most efficient power plants. The additional supply in Sindh will be used by KESC.
The proposals were approved by the prime minister for further discussion at a Cabinet meeting to be held next week.
Committees for negotiations
The premier also approved the formation of two special committees.
The first committee, comprising Minister for Water and Power Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, Petroleum Minister Dr Asim Hussain and Minister for Kashmir Affairs Mian Manzoor Wattoo, will hold negotiations with representatives of the Punjab industrial and CNG sectors to convince them to agree to the reduction in gas supply for one more day.
Likewise, another committee comprising Minister for Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khursheed Shah and Dr Asim Hussain will hold talks with Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ebad and Chief Minister Sindh Qaim Ali Shah to hold talks with stakeholders for reduction of gas supply.
The premier thanked the participants for joining the meeting on a short notice and hoped that they would support him in overcoming the crisis which is resulting in violent protests across the country.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 24th, 2012.
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