No way out: ‘Resources to end power outages lacking’

Kaira, Mukhtar insist increase in demand behind power crisis.


Our Correspondent August 03, 2012

MULTAN:


Electricity power load shedding will not end even if all the resources available to the government were used, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said on Friday.


Addressing the media in a joint briefing with Minister for Water and Power Ahmed Mukhtar at Muzaffargarh thermal power station, Kaira said the electricity demand had been rising at 1,600 MW a year since 2008.

“Blaming us for the power crisis is wrong. Not a single MW of electricity was added to the national power gird between 1996 and 2008 by successive governments,” he said.

Mukhtar said the country had faced a 2,000MW power shortfall after a tornado struck Muzaffargarh a week ago. He said the power station was now back online.

“300MW of power will be added to the grid by August 6 when Chashma Nuclear Power Plant will be restored into operation,” he said.

Kairsa said the power problem was not due to a shortage of funding by the government or fuel. “We are using all our resources but the demand continues to grow,” he said.

Kaira also said the reason for the outages was that no new power projects had been installed between 1996 and 2008.

Kaira said the power shortfall in Pakistan was still less than that faced by some other South East Asian economies. “India, our neighbour, faces a shortfall of around 40,000MW,” he said.

Parochialism

Kaira criticised the opposition for raising “the slogan of ‘Jaag Punjab Jaag’ (Wake up, Punjab).

He said they should rather chant ‘Jaag Pakistan Jaag’ (Wake up, Pakistan). He said the PML-N led riots in Punjab had encouraged people in other provinces, especially Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) to threaten the integrity of the country.” He said outages were being shared equally amongst provinces. “If the opposition has a plan to stop the outages, they should share it with us,” he said.

Import from Iran

Kaira said the belief that electricity was available in Iran and the Pakistan government was not purchasing it was wrong.

“Iran does not have surplus electricity. They will need to build a fuel pipeline to our border and build a new powerhouse to supply us,” he said.

“We will also have to lay down a 300km-long transmission line,” he said. Earlier, Kaira and Mukhtar were accompanied by the PEPCO MD and MEPCO chief executive to inspect repairs to 17 electricity towers damaged in a storm.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2012.

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