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ISLAMABAD: Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan Monday said the government had been in the process to introduce a system in the power sector to monitor the low performing DISCOs, and to deal with the mafias in the departments.

Speaking during the Senate Standing Committee on Power presided over by Senator Fida Mohammad Khan, the minister said that AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) would be introduced in the low performing power distribution companies - Pesco, Hesco, Sepco and Qesco.

The minister said that the DISCOs had been facing shortage of two things - manpower and operational vehicles, and that was largely because no assets investment was made since their privatisation.

However, he said that the government had been trying to mend the things by dealing with those problems.

Omer Ayub also agreed to the concern of the committee members with regard to prevalent malpractice, and stated that the ministry had been trying to dismantle the mafias in the departments.

We have disentitle the mafia in power sector to some extent in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and are going to further break them down, added the minister.

There are standing instructions of the Ministry of Power to the DISCOs, to replace the dysfunctional transformers on priority basis, irrespective of recoveries, as this is the responsibility of the department, the minister added.

The committee members including Senator Moula Bux Chandio pointed out that protest had been going on in Hyderabad against load shedding in the city following break down of transformers.

The minister agreed to the members concern, and stated that there were mafias in the departments and the ministry had been trying to dismantle them. The minister assured the members of the committee that he would look into the matter of loadshedding in Hyderabad, and asked Senator Chandio to share information in that regard with him.

The committee also took up the issue with regard to removal of the domestic meters of smalls farmers by the GEPCO. Senior officials of the distribution company informed the committee that domestic meters of single-phase meters were being used for running mono motors for irrigation purpose, and consequently high power voltage on single-phase meter was either damaging transformer or meters, causing direct or indirect loss of revenue.

Secretary Power Division Ali Raza Bhutta said burden of intentional or unintentional power theft was being borne by the entire nation. Senator Sirajul Haq said that Pakistan's economy was agri-based with 21 percent contribution of agriculture sector to the GDP, employment to around 48 percent people, was also a major foreign exchange earner through providing raw material to the textile exports.

Secretary Mines and Minerals Balochistan gave a briefing to the Committee on Mines and Mineral in the province, and stated that Muslim Bagh in the province was full of chromites.

The minister responded that the National Development Council was directed to prepare projects for development of Balochistan, and a project to provide electricity would be included in the Public Sector Development Programme.

The committee PC-1 has been prepared. While considering the petition of Dr Faiz Ahmed Chaudhry, Ex-MD, NTDC, the secretary Power Division stated that the NTDC had nothing to do with the case, and tendered an apology, if statement issued by the NTDC hurt Chaudhry's sentiments.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020