Power theft endemic, Senate panel informed

Subcommittee formed to assess consultants for privatisation


Our Correspondent July 23, 2022

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ISLAMABAD:

Officials of the Power Division painted on Friday a very dismal picture of their efforts to control electricity theft, telling the Senate Committee on Privatisation that they were not even allowed to register a police case against those hooking from the supply line.

The committee met with its chairman Shamim Afridi in the chair. During the meeting, a joint secretary of the Power Division gave a briefing to the members. He told the committee that losses of the electricity distributor were very high in Peshawar, Hyderabad and Islamabad.

The secretary particularly mentioned a grim situation in the Peshawar Electricity Supply Company (Pesco) region. He said that the situation was so worse in Peshawar that the people did not install electricity meters. Rather they hook connection from transformers.

In Peshawar, he said, even the army could reduce the losses by only 0.5% in the past eight years. Once, the electricity of a police station was cut over power theft, the situation turned very ugly for the Pesco staff. He added that people even shut the whole grid station during load-shedding.

The chair observed that Pesco officials were involved in whatever was happening in Peshawar. Senator Anwarul Haq Kakar said that according to reports, mill owners of Faisalabad were the biggest power thieves.

Punjab Revenue officials informed the committee that 448 acres of government land in Kasur was registered in the name of local people and remained in their possession. The chair said that if the relevant minister allowed him, he could lodge FIR against illegal occupants.

The committee later directed for writing a letter to the Registrar of the Lahore High Court (LHC) in this regard. The privatisation minister suggested that since the property belonged to the Industry Ministry, therefore the letter should be written by that ministry.

Senator Anwarul Haq Kakar criticised the absence of Capital Development Authority (CDA) Chairman from the meeting. And in a sarcastic tone, he said that if someone had the picture of the CDA chairman should give it to him, because he wanted to place it in his wallet.

CDA member planning told the committee that action had been taken against many officers and now the monitoring process had been improved. The committee also set up a sub-committee to review the efficiency of the consultants appointed for privatisation.

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