ISLAMABAD: Despite rising temperatures and prolonged power cuts, the prime minister claimed on Tuesday that load-shedding was “decreasing by the day”, while reiterating that the power crises would end by 2017.
Karachi witnessed an unprecedented heatwave which claimed the lives of over 1,000 people. The past week has also seen a number of protests against load-shedding in different cities of Punjab as well as Karachi, including one by the Sindh government itself.
However, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif stated that Pakistan was on its path to progress, while addressing the ground-breaking ceremony of the signal-free corridor of the Islamabad Highway in the federal capital, Express News reported.
The premier said he was glad to inaugurate the project, adding that it should have been initiated earlier.
Read: Expressway’s makeover: PM inaugurates project today
The project, formally titled “Signal-free and controlled access corridor of Islamabad Highway from Zero Point to Rawat” envisages conversion of the 24km Expressway from Zero Point to GT Road Rawat.
The work on the first phase of the project has already been awarded to a construction firm. The estimated Rs1.6 billion first phase includes rehabilitation and up-gradation of the existing road between Zero Point and Faizabad with an interchange at the Sector I-8 traffic signal.
The second phase, tenders for which are expected to be opened on July 7, will cost around Rs6.6 billion and includes up-gradation of the highway between Faizabad and Airport Chowk. Two new interchanges, one each at Swan Chowk and Airport Chowk, besides an underpass at Kuri, are also part of it.
The estimated Rs13.167 billion third phase will include the construction of additional lanes and complete highway rehabilitation between Airport Chowk and Rawat.
Read: Metro Bus project: This is the dawn of a new era, says PM Nawaz
Meanwhile, speaking about Karachi, he said the resolve to make Karachi a peaceful city will continue.
He reiterated his stance on power crises in the country, saying load shedding was decreasing by the day, which will end by 2017.
PM rejects increase in petroleum prices in July
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif rejected a summary moved by the Petroleum Ministry to increase fuel prices for the month of July.
Instead, the premier announced a subsidy of Rs2.5 billion to meet the difference in prices of petroleum products.
"To facilitate the general public during Ramazan, the government will not increase the petroleum prices," PM Nawaz said in his address at the ground-breaking ceremony of widening the Islamabad Highway signal-free corridor project.
“As per OGRA's (Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority) recommendations forwarded by Petroleum Ministry, the petrol prices were to go up by Rs4.26 per litre, but I personally turned down the proposal to ensure that there was no price hike during the holy month.”
The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) had worked out an increase in petrol price by an average 5.5 per cent across the country following fluctuation in global oil prices.
Had the summary been approved, prices of petrol, High Octane (HOBC) and kerosene oil would have risen by Rs4.26, Rs7.30 and Rs0.67 respectively. Simultaneously, prices of high speed diesel, Light Diesel Oil (LDO) and jet fuels would have been reduced by Rs0.60, Rs0.08, Rs2.55, Rs2.05, and Rs2.55 respectively.
Following the prime minister’s announcement, the finance ministry issued a statement confirming the prices of petroleum products.
However, after the statement, price of HSD, which is used mostly in the transport and agriculture sectors, will remain at Rs87.12. Petrol – used in smaller transport vehicles, will remain at Rs77.79 per litre.
The price of kerosene oil, used for cooking purposes in remote areas where liquefied petroleum gas is not readily available, will remain at Rs64.94. LDO - mainly used for industrial purposes – will remain at Rs61.51.
The price of HOBC, mainly used in luxury cars, will remain at Rs83.81 per litre during July.
Govt denies raising power tarrif
A spokesperson of the Ministry of Water and Power has rejected the news report regarding increase of Rs3 per unit in electricity tariff due to imposition of new surcharges including Neelum-Jehlum surcharge.
In a statement, he clarified that no such increase has been made.
The spokesperson added that those consumers who utilized between 200-300 units, the tariff has been reduced from that which was applicable last year.