Irsa releases 248,300 cusecs water

ISLAMABAD (APP): The IRSA Tuesday released 248,300 cusecs water from various rim stations with inflow of 252,700 cusecs. According to the data released by IRSA, water level in the Indus River at Tarbela Dam was 1550 feet. Water inflow in the dam was recorded as 164,300 cusecs while outflow as 163,800 cusecs. The water level in the Jhelum River at Mangla Dam was 1177.40 feet, which was 137.4 feet higher than its dead level of 1,040 feet whereas the inflow and outflow of water was recorded as 13,900 cusecs and 10,000 cusecs respectively. The release of water at Kalabagh, Taunsa and Sukkur was recorded as 181,900, 145,100 and 40,300 cusecs respectively. Similarly from the Kabul River, 21,500 cusecs of water was released at Nowshera and 21,100 cusecs from the Chenab River at Marala. Meanwhile, FFC has reported all main Rivers Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej flowing normal. According to daily FFC report on Tuesday, actual river flows and reservoir elevations indicates that Tarbela Dam is at its Maximum Conservation Level (MAL) of 1550 feet and Mangla reservoir at 64.60 feet below its MAL of 1242 feet which is 1177.40.

Present combined live storage of three reservoirs which is 9.257 MAF (67.66 per cent of the total storage capacity of 13.681 MAF).

According to Flood Forecasting Division (FFD), Lahore, yesterday's trough of Westerly Wave over Northern parts of Pakistan today lies over Kashmir. Seasonal Low lies over Northern Balochistan whereas weak moist currents from Arabian Sea are penetrating into upper parts of Pakistan upto 3000 feet.

For the next 24 hours, FFD has predicted Lahore has predicted isolated thunderstorm/rain over Rawalpindi and Gujranwala Divisions of Punjab, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir. Rain at few places may also occur over Lahore Division. Wet spell is likely to decrease during next 48 hours.

Pepco agrees to remove pay scales anomalies

LAHORE (PR): Pakistan Wapda Hydro Electric Workers Union CBA has concluded a settlement reached with the management of Pakistan Electric Supply Company representing electricity companies of the public sector of all over the country employing 150000 workforce to extend all cooperation to raise productivity and provide better services to 25 million electricity consumers of the companies while has agreed to remove the anomalies of pay scales of the line, grid and ministerial staff and raise the fringe benefits including raising Marriage Grant for Rs20,000I- to one hundred thousand rupees for two children and two hundred thousand rupees for the two children of the retired and disabled and widow of the employees. This facility is also applicable on officers and grant special education scholarship to the children of the employees for schools and colleges and university in order to assist the employees for providing meaningful education the children and enhance the rate of Danger Allowance for ALM from Rs400/PM to Rs3000/PM and raising the pay scale of drivers.

, Class IV, and Dead Cadre employees as well as raise their monthly washing allowance I living allowance from Rs350/PM to Rs1000/PM and raising the Job Allowance from Rs60/- to 500 to drivers.

Trade Union Leader Khurshid Ahmed General Secretary of the union thanked PEPCO management for issuing orders for the strengthening of the Safety System to provide line staff safe working conditions against the accident at work place who perform their duties to maintain national electricity network and declared that the workers would spare no effort to meet the national expectation.

Smeda holds workshop for gemstones sector

PESHAWAR (BUREAU REPORT): Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (Smeda) organised a workshop for the stakeholders of the gemstones sector of Gilgit-Baltistan under the initiative of the Planning Commission of Pakistan, said a press release issued here Tuesday. The workshop was a part of the Research Study on Mineral Sector Transformation Plan. The aim of the project was to discuss the issues faced by the gemstones sector of Gilgit-Baltistan and the required interventions. Addressing the workshop, Riaz Ahmed Sahito(Project Director, Planning Commission of Pakistan) requested the participants to provide their feedback about the gemstone sector of Gilgit-Baltistan. The workshop observed keen participation by all of the focus groups members comprising of the SMEs, the Pakistan Gemstone & Mineral Association (PGMA), Gilgit-Baltistan, Metals, Minerals & Gems Association, and the Directorate of Mines and Minerals. The participants informed that the GB possesses more than 34 Types of Gemstones.

They stressed upon the need of GB specific Mining Concession rules so that to promote the sector. They requested the government to consider the provision of roads and electricity to the mining areas, gems processing, and trading centers, gems exhibition in Gilgit, financing for imported mining and processing machinery and marketing support in shape of visa and subsidies. The provision of professional trainings throughout the Gems Value Chain was also demanded.

The workshop concluded with a positive note of continuing such efforts in GB and the PGMA officials suggested that like other organizations the SMEDA should establish its regional office at Gilgit-Baltistan.

New price mechanism soon: PBS

ISLAMABAD (APP): The much awaited new inflation rebasing mechanism is likely to be implemented within a month or two as the new government has already come into power to give formal approval to it for execution. The population census exercise and transfer of power from one political government to another had been reasons of delay in implementing the new rebasing, which was earlier scheduled to be completed in June 2017 and then by June 2018, official sources told APP. Earlier, due to population census exercise, the then government had given one year grace period till June 2018 to complete the process, they said, adding that the process was further delayed due to general elections 2018. The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) was hopeful to implement the new price mechanism from the beginning of the current fiscal year (i.e. from July 2018), however the Governing Council had not approved the summary to make it effective during the interim setup, sources said. 'We have already finalized rebasing mechanism and are doing in-house parallel exercise for its execution.”

, however its implementation with base year 2015-16, still requires formal approval from the Governing Council," they said adding, now that the new government has come into power, so it is expected that it would be approved and implemented soon.

The sources said that the new PBS Secretary has also been given briefing in this regard, who would also help expedite the process.

A top official of PBS told APP that the bureau was very much interested to implement it as soon as possible to reduce its burden, as currently it had to collect data under both previous as well new mechanisms.

So far, the base year 2007-08 was being utilized for evaluating the inflation, which had now gone obsolete due to arrival of many new products in the market that were utilized by the people, he added.

Under the new base, the weightage of several monitoring commodities had been reshuffled, including both urban and rural commodities, the official said.

"The current 2007-08 bases year is actually urban-biased, covering only urban commodities," the official said, adding that in the new base, both urban and rural commodities had been given appropriate weightage to evaluate inflation.

"Currently, the PBS is monitoring 487 commodities collected from 76 urban markets in 40 cities across the country under the existing mechanism, however, as per the new method, it will monitor 356 urban and 244 rural items for evaluating the inflation."

He viewed that the new base would strike a logical balance between the commodities used in urban areas and those in rural areas.

The PBS had to face questions raised by economists and researchers that the CPI had an urban bias. For removing this bias there would be now a rural CPI, an urban CPI and a total CPI.

"When 62 per cent of Pakistan's population lives in rural areas, then the national CPI should not only track urban consumption patterns to calculate inflation but also include rural economy," the official added.

He said the base was being formulated on the basis of survey and Industrial Census and Census of Manufacturing Industries (CMI). "All these activities culminate in rebasing," he added.

So far, the country, he said, was still using base of 2007-08 to evaluate inflation, which was scheduled to be changed in year 2015-16 and thereafter every ten years.

However, the process of rebasing witnessed some delay, which the official attributed to the population census. "Due to census, the process of rebasing was delayed by one year and is taking more delays," he added.