LAHORE: The faulty policy of the Benazir Bhutto government in 1994 of relying fully on thermal power generation and neglecting hydel power has resulted in the present situation in the country. Imported oil, which cost $10 a barrel then, now costs $100 a barrel, and the cost of generation has gone up to Rs18 a unit.
The government is subsidising power generation and is running up a huge circular debt. Hydel power would have cost us only one rupee a unit. The country has been brought to a standstill. For hours, there is no electricity to run fans or light bulbs and often no water to drink. The misery of the common man is as prolonged as is the load-shedding. As a result, we see people getting frustrated and coming out on the streets to protest, sometimes violently.
This is just the beginning with no end in sight. The wheels of industry have ground to a halt, the workers too are out on the streets with no hope for work even in the distant future. The agriculture sector has been harmed as well. Power riots are upon us and food riots will not be far behind. The damage done to the country appears to be irreparable. Only a mega dam constructed in the shortest possible time can save the situation. Can we afford to wait 15 years for the Bhasha Dam to be built?
Engr Khurshid Anwer
Published in The Express Tribune, June 20th, 2013.