Equitable load shedding being ensured,NA told

Islamabad: The National Assembly was informed that duration of electricity load-shedding has reduced significantly by six to seven hours due to the steps taken by the government.

Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali told the House during question hour that 1700 MW electricity has been added to the national grid following retirement of circular debt by the government.

He said equitable load-shedding is being ensured across the country as per the directions of the Supreme Court.

He said the government is committed to completely eradicate power theft and in this regard smart meters are being introduced.

Referring to the government’s measures to enhance electricity generation‚ the Minister of State said the government is pursuing a two pronged policy comprising supply side measures and demand side measures to end load-shedding in the country. He said over 4600 megawatt electricity will be added to the national grid in the short term. He said that work on Neelum-Jhelum and Nandipur Power Project has been expedited as part of government efforts to produce cheap electricity.

He pointed out that demand for electricity has increased more than fifty percent in the last seven years and efforts both on short-term and long-term basis are being made to bridge the demand and supply gap. All sources including hydel and alternative energy are being explored for this purpose.

The Minister of State told the House that Water and Power Development Authority has prepared a master plan to construct small and big dams not only to cope with the shortage of water but also meet energy crisis.

Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali assured the House that electricity load-shedding will be completely eradicated before the end of the stipulated period of the present government. He said efforts will be made to end the load-shedding before the given timeframe.

He said private sector is being encouraged to invest in alternative energy power projects. Letter of Intents‚ in this regard‚ have been issued to nine companies for generation of 421 MW electricity.

Meanwhile,Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmad told the House that Utility Stores Corporation has reduced the prices of more than 1500 items from five to ten percent. He said the present government also gave Ramazan Relief Package of two billion rupees through five thousand and eight hundred outlets of utility stores corporation.

Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Sardar Muhammad Yousaf informed the House that 143000 pilgrims will perform Hajj this year under government and private schemes. He said efforts are being made to provide maximum facilities to pilgrims including quality accommodation and transport service. He said Pakistan International Airlines has been directed to avoid any delay in Hajj flights.