Power shortages: President Zardari tells ministries to remedy energy crisis

Zardari calls for quick measures to address power shortages in Karachi.

Zafar Bhutta August 06, 2011

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari directed ministries concerned to sort out administrative, financial and technical issues surrounding the chronic energy crisis and submit a report next week, identifying viable options to overcome power shortages. There was, however, no solid outcome.

Minister for Water and Power Syed Naveed Qamar told The Express Tribune that a general discussion on energy crisis was held during the meeting.

“We discussed issues affecting the power sector in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, besides discussing problems relating to the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC),” Qamar said. “We want to reduce outstanding dues under circular debt.”

Minister for Petroleum Dr Asim Hussain said that the issue of circular debt issue also came under discussion. “We will also talk to KESC’s management to improve the power supply situation in Karachi,” he added.

Taking serious note of the persistent domestic power shortages, President Zardari directed three key ministers “to sort out administrative, financial and technical issues and submit a report to him early next week on alternative viable options”.

Spokesperson to the president Farhatullah Babar said that the Presidency on Friday had especially called Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Minister for Water and Power Naveed Qamar and Petroleum Minister Dr Asim Hussain for a presentation on the power sector’s problems.

Chronic energy shortages “have reached a critical level”, the president was quoted as having said. He also said that a political government, which is accountable to the people, cannot ignore the lingering crisis.

The meeting was informed that during the three-year period, between March 2008 and July this year, 3,400 megawatts of power had been added to the national grid, but there was still a gap of almost 4,500MW between supply and demand during peak summer.

The president also called for taking quick measures to address the problem of power shortages in Karachi.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2011.

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