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Sindh Assembly wants Nepra to ignore KE requests for tariff increase

KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution demanding that the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) must not allow any increase in power tariff or taxes at K-Electric request as it was unjustified in the wake of overbilling and unannounced loadshedding.

The highhandedness of K-Electric in the form of overbilling, unannounced loadshedding and disconnecting pole-mounted transformers echoed in the Sindh Assembly a fourth time, as at least three resolutions on the subject had earlier been passed by the house in the past.

The fresh demand was made in the resolution tabled by Leader of Opposition Khwaja Izhar-ul-Hasan on Tuesday, which was a private members day. When put to the house after some 20 speeches from lawmakers across the floor, including ministers, the resolution was carried unanimously.

Soon afterwards, Deputy Speaker Syeda Shehla Raza, who was presiding over the session, called it a day at 2.10pm till Wednesday at 10am.

Earlier speaking on his resolution, Mr Hasan said the people of Karachi had already been severely suffering from overbilling and unannounced loadshedding for the past many years. He said the KE management had vowed to enhance its generation capacity to meet the electricity demand with lower tariff at the time of taking over the utility. Despite failing to honour its commitment, he added, the KE asked Nepra to allow modifications and adjustments in the tariff that would further increase the burden on the consumers who had already been paying inflated bills.

The issue was so much serious and sensitive that already three resolutions on the subject had been passed by this house in the past, said the leader of the opposition.

While in other parts of the country power tariff was lowered, Nepra at a recent hearing rejected the strong case against power tariff increase and allowed the K-Electric to revise it, he said.

“It’s not just a matter of tariff but also of overbilling complaints for which the K-Electric has no mechanism to settle them except to make payment in instalments,” said Mr Hasan.

The leader of the opposition, who is also central leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, said that K-Electric was the only company with unbridled profit earning as currently it was planning to sell its 16 per cent shares on double profit to a Chinese company.

Terming Nepra having no representation from Sindh ‘anti-Karachi’, the lawmaker said, it allowed KE to mint billions of rupees and may also impose the maintenance cess of the past 10 years on the consumers while PMT losses too were passed on to consumers.

Khwaja Izhar said now when the KE was being sold once again, it ought to take the Sindh government on board, as last time when the KESC was privatized, the services of around 4,500 employees were terminated and we had to strive to get them their rights by staging sit-ins against the KE.

MQM Parliamentary Party leader Syed Sardar Ahmad said it was not only the issue of K-Electric but similar problems even those related to water and gas were being faced by the entire province, because the federal government was not paying any attention to Sindh.

Demanding legislation to nationalize the KE, he said there used to be nominees of Sindh in the KESC board but the Sindh government withdrew its nominees.

Saifuddin Khalid, Sabir Qaimkhani, Ayesha Khatoon, Dr Zafar Kamali, Naheed Begum, Jamal Ahmad, Zubair Ahmad, Qamar Abbas and Azeem Farooqi of the MQM said that in Orangi Town seven pole-mounted transformers (PMTs) were shut, some of them for the past 15 days, despite payment of power bills by 70 per cent population.

Drawing attention of the chief minister, the lawmakers said that if remedy was not provided to people who had paid the bills, there was apprehension that they would take to streets and cause a breakdown of law and order.

PPP ministers Shamim Mumtaz and Mumtaz Jakhrani, MPAs Khairunnisa Mughal, Ghazala Sial, Javed Nagori and Murtaza Baloch while supporting the resolution said it was not only the issue of Karachi but the entire Sindh was facing the same situation.

As Sindh contributed 70 per cent revenue to the national exchequer, the federal government should not destroy the economy of the province to the extent that it became threat to the federation, they said.

The lawmakers and ministers said it seemed a conspiracy against the Sindh government that K-Electric disconnected power supply to the people depriving them of water and creating unhygienic condition to force them to take to street and create a law and order problem.

They also called upon the media, particularly TV channels, to raise the issue of people’s suffering due to the suspension of power supply. People were fed up with the KE, the lawmakers said, asking the chief minister to take up the issue on a priority basis.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif must know that Sindh was not without heir, the PPP has served the people and would continue to serve them, they added.

Earlier, Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani, who had called the house in order at 11am, termed the adjournment motion of Khurram Sherzaman regarding share of Karchiites in recruitment for the government jobs, not maintainable and out of order when it was opposed by minister Dr Sikander Mandhro on technical grounds.

Meanwhile, the leader of the opposition highlighted the need to have manageable business on the agenda on private members’ day so that it could be covered during the day. For this, the speaker said, there was need to make amendments to the rules of business.

Courtesy : Dawn News



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