ISLAMABAD - The Senate Standing Committee on Power on Tuesday recommended to the Senate for provision of 400 free electricity units a month to those mosques whose imams (prayer leaders) issue Fatwa against the power theft.

The Senate Standing committee on power that met here with the senator Fida Muhammad Khan in the chair approved the recommendations of its Sub-committee for curbing the menace of power theft.

A  Sub-committee of the Senate Standing Committee on Power headed by Senator Nauman Wazir had presented 20 proposals which also included taking the help of religion and issuance of Islamic decrees [Fatwas] by prayer leaders was at the top and sensitise the public regarding its repercussion on daily life as per Sharia.

A Sub-committee of the Senate Standing Committee on Power headed by Senator Nauman Wazir was formed to study the issue of power theft and give its proposals to the Senate Standing Committee which has approved it.

The Senate Standing Committee also discussed Lakhra coal power plant. The committee was informed that Lakhra Coal Power Plant (GENCO-IV) has accumulated total losses of Rs11.8 billion and is lying closed for the last one year. During the six-month period, it racked up Rs494 million more losses and is adding, officials of the Power sector disclosed to the parliamentary panel.

Senior officials of the power division informed the committee that this plant is making losses since it started its generation. Fire has erupted in the plant in July 2017 and since then the plant is non-operational and is still accumulating losses.

They further said that if we run the plant, it adds up Rs500 million/year, while keeping it closed, its losses increases by Rs100 million a year.  

The Senate Standing committee formed a sub-committee comprises Senator Agha Shahzaib Khan Durrani and Senator Mushahid ullah Khan to look into the plant’s affairs and submit the report to the committee.

The plant is closed for the last more than one year and during this period it racked up Rs494 million losses. This figure also include Rs185 million employees salaries, Rs105 million pensions of retired employees and Rs136 million as depreciation costs. The plant has 350 employees.

Senator Moula Bux Chandio said that since the losses increases despite keeping the plant closed and also making hundreds of people unemployed. Therefore the issue need to be resovled to keep the people working and it must be thoroughly investigated and also indentify those responsible for the current situation. He said that a mafia is active to make the plant closed.

The committee was also informed that this project started in 1995/96, and the plant’s losses have reached to Rs6.7 billion while the company’s total losses have reached up to Rs11.8 billion.

Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak said that in Pakistan, the imported oil-based projects have been given more importance while for the development of the domestic oil and coal has not been given importance.

The committee when asked that what was the efficiency of the plant? Chief Engineer Lakhra power plant said that its efficiency is 25 per cent. He further said that the efficiency based on which NEPRA given it the tariff has not been achieved.

The committee was also informed that the boiler of the plant had caught fire, and for the repair of the plant $33 million would be needed. 

The CEO of the Guddu Thermal Power Station (Genco-II) requested the committee to ask the Sindh irrigation department to provide it water during the off season. The irrigation department said that the administration of the plant despite their promise did not provide financial resources. CEO of the plant negated the claim of the Sindh and said that no promise has been made.

The officials of the Sindh Irrigation Department said that in 1985, a deal has been reached with WAPDA under which GENCO was liable to provide 64 pc and Irrigation department with 36pc. It was later reviewed in 2013 and the expenses were decided on fifty-fifty basis. The Sindh government has paid 50 per cent share while the GENCO has not paid it so far.