LAHORE - The Punjab government has rejected the proposal extended of PML-Q President Ch Shujaat Husssain for overcoming the current electricity crisis by way of paying the power producers from the provincial shares in the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award.

Shujaat has presented the formula of making payment of Rs 50billion to the power producers from the NFC Award money, the major chunk of which has to go to Punjab for utilization in the next three months.

The PML-N government has not subscribed to the formula of Shujaat and described the ongoing electricity shortage as a total failure of the federal government and has presented a counter suggestion of immediate elections as the only way out to end unabated electricity loadshedding and other problems stemmed from what it says, wrong and misdirected policies of the Centre.

Reacting to Shujaat’s proposal, PML-N Spokesman Pervez Rashid said Shujaat’s party is sitting in the Centre which rules three of the four provinces. And the question is whether Shujaat consulted the three provinces before floating this idea or if it was his own brainchild.

He said the NFC money is the right of the provinces which spends the same on different development projects for the people in which Punjab eminently leads others. By transferring the NFC money to power sector, the federal government will not only be deliberately creating a stumbling block in the Punjab projects but will also be eschewing its own responsibilities towards addressing a serious problem of the masses.  Rashid said the federal government has failed on every count and in order to divert attention of the masses from its failures, its partners were floating such ideas.

 He said if provinces have to pay the circular debts, they should also be entrusted the right to collect the revenue on electricity and distribute the power, he added.

According to him, it will never be acceptable to the federal government. What the federal government has been doing over the last four years to end the power crisis, he questioned, demanding  the federal government to recover the NICL money, the money misused by the cronies of the rulers in PIA, Railways, Haj department and billions of other looted through corruption from the national kitty, to pay the power producers. But the government will never do it because booty was also going into their pockets, he alleged, proposing immediate elections the only viable and best way to overcome power and other crises  present making life of the people highly miserable.

Law Minister Rana Sanaulla has also turned down Ch Shujaat’s proposal, terming the same quite ‘senseless and unreasonable’ given the fact that 53 per cent of NFC Award money goes to the federal and rest of 47 per cent is distributed among the four provinces.

Why are circular debts not being paid from the share of 53 per cent, he questioned. He said only Rs 350 billion has been misappropriated in PIA, Pakistan Steel Mills and Railways, while Rs 100 billion of the Benazir Income Support Programme has been squandered in the name of poor.

He said the rulers must account for this huge corruption, adding that the money should be recovered and paid to the power producers.

The law Minister said the federal government is always looking for means to fail the Punjab government but the fact is the popularity graph of the PML-N was getting higher and the PPP and its coalition partners were losing foothold among the people everywhere in the country due to their failed and anti-people policies.