Petrol dealers warn of a nationwide strike

Senate panel irked over biting load-sheddings


​ Our Correspondents April 28, 2022
PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD / RAWALPINDI:

Faced with panic buying and acute criticism over the supposed shortage of diesel, the All Petroleum Dealers Association warned of shutting down the petrol pumps across the country over unwarranted public wrath.

Speaking at a news conference, the association’s information secretary Nauman Ali Butt claimed that international and local companies were involved in the diesel crisis, regretting that people were unfair in casting suspicions over the petrol dealers.

He said that there was a scarcity of diesel in major districts of Punjab and informed that the association was trying to talk to Ogra about the issue.

“If there is a day diesel stock for 21 days in the country then why is it absent from the petrol pumps?” he asked. “We are being accused that dealers have stopped the goods.”

Meanwhile, the Senate Standing Committee on Power on Wednesday expressed strong displeasure over unscheduled load-shedding hitting various parts of the country amid record-breaking temperatures, questioning what was causing the frequent power outages if there was a surplus of power in the country.

The chairman of the panel, Saifullah Abro, demanded explanations from the Power Division, asking under which the loadshedding was taking place.

The panel was informed that the demand for electricity increased by 38 per cent in April as compared to the previous year.

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It was told that country’s power generation capacity was about 38,000 megawatts, but due to non-supply of fuel and RLNG, many power generation plants have been shut down.

The country's current power generation was about 18,500 megawatts, the additional secretary Power Division told the committee.

The chairman of the committee said that while procuring RLNG, care should be taken to deal with suppliers who did not default when there was a price hike, adding that the amount of performance guarantee should be such that the supplier could not default.

 

However, sources in the Power Division told the Express Tribune that the gap between supply and demand was 7,300 megawatts. At present, the peak generation stood at 18,700 megawatts while even constrained demand goes beyond 26,000 megawatts.

They revealed that the country was generating 3,800 megawatts from hydropower, 900 megawatts from government thermal power plants and 14,000 megawatts from power plants.

Explaining the causes of the shortfall, the sources said that the total power generation capacity was 36,016 megawatts. However, the ability of the power plants to generate enough electricity was stymied by an insufficient supply of LNG and furnace oil, due to which only 18,000 megawatts were being generated.

Power transmission lines

The Senate's panel on power also discussed the question raised by Senator Syed Muhammad Sabir Shah regarding heavy power transmission lines running over the lands in Ghazi Tehsil of Haripur District.

The additional secretary explained that as per the existing policy, the owners on whose lands the transmission lines were configured were paid a reasonable amount. He added that any construction near the transmission lines was prohibited.

Senator Syed Sabir Shah lamented that due to the presence of heavy transmission lines, the lands were rendered virtually useless as people could neither do construction nor could they use it for agricultural purposes.

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Authorities should buy the land from the people or pay a reasonable royalty to them, he demanded.

Meanwhile, Senator Saifullah Sarwar Khan Niazi emphasised that the royalty should be paid in proportion to the revenue generated from electricity so that the people could have a source of regular income.

The additional secretary Power Division said that the existing law needed to be amended to introduce a new policy.

The chairman of the committee directed the concerned authorities to review the policy in this regard and submit suggestions in the next committee meeting.

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