Friday, May 29, 2009

President voices displeasure over prolonged loadshedding in Karachi

Expressing his displeasure over continuous and prolonged load-shedding in Karachi, President Asif Ali Zardari Thursday set up a 5-member committee to evaluate the KESC performance as per its agreement and submit a report for a final decision regarding the Corporation.

The committee, to be headed by Federal Advisor Finance, Shaukat Tareen, will comprise Federal Ministers Dr. Farooq Sattar and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and two representatives of KESC Management.

The decision was taken at a high level meeting held under the chairmanship of President Zardari at the Governor House here.

Sindh Governor Dr. Ishrat-ul- Ebad Khan, Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Federal Minister for Information Qamar Zaman Kaira, Federal Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Advisor Finance Shaukat Tareen attended the meeting.

Later briefing the press, Qamar Zaman Kaira said that the committee would meet on Saturday for performance evaluation of KESC to submit a report to the President.

Showing his indignation over continued power outages in Karachi, the President made it clear to the KESC management that this situation would not be tolerated any more and the company would have to improve the situation immediately.

The Information Minister pointed out that when KESC was privatised in 2005, the Government had taken on its debt of Rs 120 billion and gave another Rs 31 billion to facilitate the company besides giving facilities more than possible so that improvement was brought in the life of citizens of Karachi.

He said the Government was prepared to facilitate the company further but only on the basis of its performance.

While taking over the Corporation, the company had made a commitment of making an investment of dollars 361 million out of which it has brought an investment of dollars 81 million.

He said the President set up the committee with an assignment to probe whether or not the company fulfilled its committed works.

The company was asked that if it had to buy electricity from IPPs at higher rates, it should go for it to provide relief to people.

Kaira said the Committee will examine whether or not the company can run the KESC and give its conclusion about it.

The Minister said the company assured the President that it would improve the load-shedding situation in the light of the presidential directives and strive to end power cuts.

He pointed out that at the time of agreement on privatization of KESC, the WAPDA ensured interim supply of 500 MW electricity to KESC on the same rates as it is recovering from other companies.

He said that notwithstanding the fact that load-shedding is also being done in other parts of the country, WAPDA has been supplying 700 MW over and above its commitment under the agreement.

Qamar Zaman Kaira said the committee formed by the President would evaluate how far the company can bring improvement in load-shedding.

The company was told that it would have to bring improvement in power supply from today onward and it would be extended support from Federal, provincial and city governments and all the 18 Towns of Karachi.

The Federal Minister said that if the company shows its inability to do the needful, then whatever the committee will decide the government will take a final decision thereon.

He hoped that the situation would show improvement and said people would get rid of the problem only when more power plants would come on steam.

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