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LAHORE: The Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF) on Sunday asked the government to include hydropower projects in the scope of renewable energy, as the country cannot afford to rely on costly and anti-environment fossil fuels.

In a joint statement the senior vice chairman Nasir Hameed and vice chairman Javed Siddiqi also demanded the govt to prioritize the whole industry in energy supply at competitive rates on the patron of regional countries of India, China and Bangladesh, as the government has increased the average power tariff by over 40 percent during the last three years followed by the proposed hike in gas rates by withdrawing subsidy for the industry.

He requested the government to keep focus on the industry which can generate foreign exchange, contribute to local taxes and generate employment, he added.

They emphasized the importance of dam development, stating that as much as 20 million acres of barren land can be brought under plough if the water is made available by developing water storages in the country.

Nasir Hameed said that with construction of dams, the country can strengthen its agriculture to attain food security and cope with the fast growing needs of water in domestic and industrial sectors besides injecting sizeable low-cost hydroelectricity into the national grid to stabilize the national economy Quoting a report of various government agencies, he observed that hydropower is not being considered under the scope of renewable energy which is contrary to the definition and standards used worldwide.

He maintained that hydropower is the most advanced and mature renewable energy technology and provides some level of electricity generation in more than 160 countries worldwide including Australia, Norway, Brazil, Canada, Vietnam, Sweden, United States and China etc. Moreover, hydropower is an attractive renewable option given the low-cost of electricity it produces, low greenhouse gas emissions and the flexibility it provide to the grid.

The PIAF vice chairman Javed Siddiqi, commenting on the factors behind the current scenario of water and hydropower sectors in the country observed that the situation can be improved by putting a robust development mechanism in place and exercising prompt decision making.

All stakeholders including the business community are ready to play their due role to implement the National Water Policy for water, food and energy security of the country, he said.

He said that Kalabagh dam should not have been ignored in the federal budget at any cost, as water scarcity is heading towards the point of no return. Those opposing the Kalabagh Dam are unaware of the ground realities,” he said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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