ISLAMABAD: With the state grappling with the public fallout from severe electricity shortages across the country, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Friday announced the date of the construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam and signalled that his government had the wherewithal to see out the power crisis.
“The foundation stone laying ceremony of Diamer-Bhasha Dam, approved by the Council of Common Interest (CCI), will be held on October 18,” Gilani told the National Assembly in a speech.
Unlike the ill-fated Kalabagh Dam, the prime minister said, the proposed project has already been endorsed by the CCI. Such a move, he explained, had pre-empted any unnecessary politicisation – of the kind that dogged the dam project at Kalabagh for years on end.
He said that his government has started and would complete the ‘historic’ mega project. “Once completed, Diamer-Bhasha, Neelum Jhelum, Mangla Dam and Thar Coal, would overcome the power crisis,” he added.
The plan was unveiled by the government on the same day that the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had called upon the government to resign following a Supreme Court ruling on a suo moto case regarding violence in Karachi.
Everything has become crystal clear after the apex court’s decision and the “chief executive has no other option but to quit”, said PML-N lawmaker Zahid Hamid.
Speaking on a point of order, Hamid said that the Supreme Court has clearly stated that it was the failure of federal and provincial governments to abide by their constitutional duties in bringing peace to the country’s financial hub.
When the lower house resumed debate on the energy crisis, the price hike in petroleum products and other related issues, both the PPP and PML-N traded barbs and described each other as incapable of addressing people’s problems.
During the course of the ongoing debate on the electricity crisis, Lt General (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch from the PML-N lashed out at the government for what he called its negligence of and insincerity in addressing the power shortfall which has risen to 8,000 MW in the last three and a half years.
Referring to regularisation of 10,000 illegal tube wells in Balochistan, he urged the government to take action against the corrupt officials of Wapda responsible for granting illegal connections.
Ruling party member Yasmeen Rehman cautioned political groupings against politicising the energy crisis. Denouncing the PML-N’s stance of staging demonstrations in the country, she said that its workers were not helping the crisis by damaging national property.
Referring to dengue fever, she said the disease has assumed the proportion of an epidemic in Punjab due to lack of precautionary measures, adding the provincial government should devise an effective strategy to eliminate the disease.
Shakeel Awan of PML-N criticised the government over the publication of newspaper advertisements which claimed the issue of load-shedding would be tackled in 36 hours.
Meanwhile, Water and Power Minister Syed Naveed Qamar informed the House that the government would explore alternative sources of energy besides the conventional to enhance power production and overcome the crisis in the country. “We will encourage those solutions, which are cost-effective”, he added.
Courtesy: The Express Tribune