The federal government has decided to suspend power supply to commercial feeders after 7pm for three hours to lessen electricity shortfall in the country amid strict opposition from traders, local media reported.
According to sources within the Power Division, the electric supply will remain suspended at commercial feeders between 7pm to 10pm. They said that there would be no loadshedding on commercial feeders throughout the day. “This measure will help the government save 5,000MW,” they claimed.
They said the power supply to agricultural tubewells will also remain suspended from 7pm to 11pm to save 3,000MW electricity.
They said that similar measures were adopted during the previous PPP tenure and it is the only solution to the current power crisis. “A summary in this regard will be moved in the cabinet for approval,” they said, and added that prior approval will also be taken from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in this week.
Previously, the Nationalapproval,” they said, and added that prior approval will also be taken from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in this week. Previously, the National Economic Council (NEC) has decided to close markets across the country at 8:30pm.
The decision was taken during the NEC meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. The meeting was attended by chief ministers of Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was represented by its chief secretary Dr Shehzad Khan.
During the meeting, the provincial chief ministers were apprised of the proposals and decisions taken during the June 7, 2022 meeting of the federal cabinet to deal with the energy crisis in the country.
The chief ministers agreed to the federal government’s proposal to close the markets at 8.30pm. Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan had asked for two days to implement the decision as they wish to consult the traders’ association in their provinces.
Addressing a press conference with Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif, MNA Asad Mehmood and PMLN leaders Musadiq Malik, PPP leader and Adviser to the Prime Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said that “we must change our habits and unite” while responding to the latest petrol price hike.
He said that the government tried to avoid putting burden on the people and find a way to cushion them against the blow but it had no choice except taking tough decisions. He criticised the former government, saying that those who signed contracts with the IMF were saying that the fuel prices will exceed Rs300 and subsidies will have to be abolished. He said that they were correct because they knew the details of the contracts.
“No government wants to become unpopular among the people but what choice do we have? Whether to become Sri Lanka or to make efforts to steer out of this crisis,” he asked. He said that Pakistan alone is not facing such a crisis, rather the entire world’s economy is suffering.
“A labourer who avails himself of Rs80 subsidy for one litre petrol, while a land cruiser owner takes Rs8,000 subsidy on 100 litre petrol. Can such a subsidy be continued,” he asked. Petroleum Minister Senator Musadik Malik said the previous government laid land mines through subsides on fuel and left the country in an economic mess.
Imran Khan had decided that there will be no increase in fuel prices further which had no ratification in any official document and was only a political proclamation. Had the government delayed price increase for a month, national exchequer would have to bear the burden of Rs100 to Rs120 billion a month.
The total defence budget is of Rs1,536 billion whereas this fuel subsidy cost is between Rs1,200 to Rs1,500 billion was announced by the ousted prime minister Imran Khan. Malik said the entire country’s Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) was Rs727 billion, the federal government much criticised expenditure only Rs550 billion while government announced Rs360 billion BISP relief.
He added that it was easy for us to shrug our shoulders by claiming it as the decision of the previous government but the government took the responsibility to fix the economic issues. Federal Minister for Communications Asad Mehmood suggested that a national commission should be formulated to probe powers behind former prime minister Imran Khan to take over the country, leaving the state in various crises.
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif stressed the need for changing habits and making a united effort to face the current crisis. The defence minister said that a huge amount of electricity can be saved if people start their businesses early in the morning and close by Maghrib prayers. He said that saving electricity means saving oil.
“If we do this, neither will we have to use expensive oil that much and nor will the consumers have to bear the burden of expensive electricity,” he said, adding that it is just a fundamental change that people need to bring to their lives.
He said that 3,500MW electricity can be saved through this method and it will go over 4,000MW if Karachi also follows it. He, however, said that the traders are currently not willing to accept the suggestion. He said that the fuel prices would go down if the Russian-Ukraine war stops.
Source: The News