ISLAMABAD The Upper House of the Parliament amid dissenting voices of the Treasury and Opposition members passed the Alternative Energy Development Board Bill, 2010 for the establishment of Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB).
Senator Raza Rabbani stunned the members of the House when he severely criticised some clauses of the Bill.
He termed the bill more bureaucratic than democratic.
Citing one of its clauses, according to which, the bill is democratic and peoples friendly, he said, How can the Bill be people friendly and democratic, as no parliamentarian and civil society has been included in the body of AEDB as its member? He further said the Bill was not 'ultra vires but it was against the spirit of 18th Amendment, as under the 18th Amendment the power of production had been shifted to provinces.
Earlier, the Minister for Water and Power, Raja Pervez Ashraf while tabling the Bill in the Senate said that alternate energy resources were getting world-wide attention in the wake of increasing prices of conventional fuels.
He said the AEDB would provide every kind of expertise for the production of alternate/renewable energy in order to achieve sustainable economic growth.
The Board will provide its full support to the provinces to increase their alternate energy resources, he added.
While giving the details of ongoing alternate energy projects (AEPs), he apprised the House that eight AEPs were underway in the coastal areas in addition to a bio-diesel energy project with the joint venture of Pakistan State Oil (PSO) and they would be completed within the stipulated time period.
The Opposition members opposed the Bill while Senator Professor Khurshid Ahmed said that the alternate energy was the necessity of the time but there were some loopholes, as the Bill did not mention specifically about the participation of the provinces.
Leader of the Opposition, Wasim Sajjad termed it amazing that the recently held energy summit convened by the Prime Minister after the long deliberations concluded that the cause of energy crisis was the difference between demand and supply.
He was of the view that the demand and supply difference was understandable for a child of ten years.
He questioned the performance of AEDB since 2003 from its inception.
Senator Haroon Akhtar said that keeping in view the previous performance of AEDB, it had totally failed to produce alternate energy resources and the Government should move forward to overcome energy crisis.
Senator Naeem Chattha questioned the composition of the Board, saying that no parliamentarian or technocrat was included in the body as its member.
Senator Haji Adeel of ANP also questioned the performance of the AEDB, adding that it had no proper representation of the provinces and it would be another WAPDA for them.
Hafiz Rasheed of FATA objected that the Bill had not mentioned the name of FATA and inquired the chair that did tribal areas region not part of the Pakistan? Raja Pervez Ashraf while answering to the queries of the senators said that the Bill was not in contradiction of the 18th Amendment, adding that its purpose was to co-ordinate with the provinces and donor agencies regarding alternate power generation.
While giving the details, he said that AEDB had working as attached department to the Cabinet Division since its establishment from 2003 up to 2008 and later it became a part of the Ministry of Water and Power.
While dispelling the impression that the Board was a bureaucratic set up, he informed the House that a grade 20 government officer was serving the board as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who had some experience to work with the UNO on alternate energy generation.
On the representation of provinces, he said that chief secretaries of all the provinces would be its members besides three other experts.
Later, the Chairman Senate took census of the House over the Bill and passed the Bill with majority vote.
The chair announced to adjourn the House proceedings to meet again on Wednesday evening at 5pm.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 05-May-2010 here.