ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Sunday took stock of unannounced and prolonged power outages in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and directed the authorities concerned to take to task those officials who were behind the practice.
The directives were issued during a meeting the PM presided over during his visit to Chitral where he inaugurated Golen Gol Hydropower Project, The Express Tribune has learnt.
On the sidelines, Abbasi chaired a high-level meeting to review the power situation and development projects in K-P, Chitral in particular, as the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz seeks to attract public support in the province to counter the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s vote bank in general elections.
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The prime minister’s visit to Chitral coincided with that of PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif’s visit to KP’s capital Peshawar where he addressed a public gathering.
Official sources said that the prime minister was informed by party leaders in Chitral that loadshedding was persistent in Chitral and other parts across K-P which could prove detrimental to the PML-N’s vote bank in the general polls given that the federal government and the N-League’s leadership take pride in claiming credit for ending the power outages and producing ‘surplus’ electricity.
The reports of unannounced loadshedding are said to have not gone down well with the prime minister who chaired a meeting to discuss the matter.
Federal Minister for Water Resources Javed Ali Shah, Chairman Water and Power Development Authority Lt-Gen (retd) Muzzammil Hussain and other senior officials and local representatives attended the meeting.
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Sources said the prime minister directed the authorities concerned during the meeting that loadshedding should be carried out only in areas that were reporting high line losses mainly due to electricity theft.
The areas where electricity theft was low or nil, the power outages be avoided and steps be taken against power theft, sources quoted the prime minister as having directed.
“Instead of taking the culprits behind power theft to task, passing the burden of line losses to consumers is not justified. Consumers should be facilitated as much as possible,” the prime minister reportedly said.
He directed the officials concerned to proceed against heads of the grid stations where unannounced power outages were taking place, the sources said.
A press release from the PM Office said the prime minister stated during the meeting that the PML-N government allocated “unprecedented amount of resources for the development of the people of Chitral”.
He said that mega projects including Lowari Tunnel, several hydropower and road infrastructure projects have been completed during the PML-N's tenure.
The prime minister also stated that the government was working on power projects as a priority so that the people of Chitral were provided with affordable source of energy “thereby reducing the burden on forest resources. Completion of power projects will also encourage commerce, industry and tourism in Chitral that would provide greater employment opportunities for the local population”.
He said the people of Chitral have rendered great services for the country and therefore the government will provide all possible support for socio-economic uplift of the local people.
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