PEW opposes sale of profitable power utilities

ISLAMABAD (INP): The PEW on Sunday said the existing system is exploitative, anti-masses and titled in favour of nobility which is damaging country steadily. Masses are being squeezed to promote the interests of irresponsible elite who have become parasites on the national resources, it said. Accountability, reforms and increasing tax base have become catchy slogans while privatisation has become a tool to plunder national resources, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW. K-Electric is getting cheap gas, low-cost electricity from national grid, subsidy, loans worth Rs130 billion but it has failed to deliver which has been proved through harsh statements by federal and provincial ministers, he added.

Mughal said that despite failed privatisation of K-Electric the government is trying to sell profit making power companies including that of Islamabad, Lahore, Faisalabad, Muzaffargarh etc.

The privatisation of power distribution companies amounts to leave masses on the mercy of merciless capitalists. A dysfunctional Nepra will never be able to safeguard interests of masses reeling under severe loadshedding after sale of power utilities to an influential banker.

Some experts suggest that circular debt in allowed to swell to get benefit from those seeking payment while the bill of a director of a gas company is never delayed.

Mughal said that FBR missed last year’s target of Rs2065 billion by Rs25 billion but current target was set at Rs 3.1 trillion to please IMF which will meet the fate of earlier targets.

The tax system is not transparent or just, it keeps on rewarding aristocracy on the cost of masses which is pushing country towards disaster.

Govt to provide interest free loans to farmers for solar tube-wells

ISLAMABAD (Online): The Government plans to launch a scheme to provide interest free loans to farmers for setting up new solar tube-wells, state media reported on Sunday. The initiative will facilitate the small growers in reducing heavy expenditure incurred on diesel and electricity tube-wells. It is estimated that the cost of half cusec solar tube-well may be up to Rs1.1 million. Against a deposit of one hundred thousand rupees the government will provide interest free loans through the commercial Banks. The government will pick up the mark-up cost on these loans. Under this scheme mark-up free loans will be provided for thirty thousand tube-wells in the next three years.

All farmers with land holdings up to 12.5 acres will be eligible to apply for this loan.

‘Stock market reflects investors’ trust in govt’

ISLAMABAD (APP): Chairman of the United International Group Mian Shahid has said that PM Nawaz Sharif and CM Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif are taking historic steps for the development and prosperity of the country. He was talking to Samina Fazil, founder President Islamabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said a press release issued here on Sunday. Mian Shahid said that the stock market reflected confidence of investors in the policies of the incumbent government, adding that the resolve of political and army leadership would push growth rate beyond projections. He said that the stock market improved by 16 per cent in last year but now it had become one of the top ten markets in the world.

The policies of the government had improved trade, commerce, investment, construction and other sectors while infrastructure development has taken front seat in the latest budget, he added. He said that IMF had projected growth rate at 4.5 per cent in the ongoing fiscal but it would go beyond that due to the revolutionary policies and wise decisions.

The IMF is satisfied with Pakistan’s progress, two international credit rating agencies have revised country’s rating upward while investors are getting cheap loans due to interest rate which is lowest in last 42 years, he maintained.

KP govt condemned for BoK

privatisation decision

PESHAWAR (APP): ANP Provincial Parliamentary leader Sardar Hussain Babak Sunday condemned the decision of provincial govt for privatisation of the BoK. Sardar Hussain Babak while criticizing the provincial government said that instead of taking practical step for the establishment of provincial stock exchange, it has announced of privatization of the BoK which is going on in profit. He alleged that some of the share holders in the bank have actually instigating the provincial government by selling Bank’s assets on in appropriate manners. He said the ANP would not let the government to take any step regarding the privatization of the bank which is considered as the back bone of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa economy.

Mr. Babak outright rejected the provincial government stance regarding the privatization of the BoK which in short span of time withheld Rs. 126 billion assets and having Rs. 92 billion call deports out of which Rs. 80 billion of the local clients hailing from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He said the plan prepared of the provincial government for selling the share of the BoK on low rate only to benefit their blue-eyed would not let unchecked.

On one hand, the BoK has been playing a key role in boosting up provincial economy while on the other it is a source for employment to the thousands of people hailing from this province.

He said BoK is also playing a key role in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of infrastructure development of the war-torn, flood-hit Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He said instead of taking practical steps for expediting trading and economic activities, establishment of provincial stock-exchange, the government is snatching the only source which has a key role in the infrastructure development of the province.

The ANP, he said, termed it negative steps as far as provincial autonomy is concerned and would stage a province-wide protest demonstration against the government.

Orange Line Train: Government saves $1 billion

LAHORE (APP): The Punjab government has saved almost $1 billion from the project cost of Orange Line Metro Train as compared to the previous government’s underground Rapid Mass Transit System project prepared in 2005. Almost 27 kilometres long underground train RMTS project had been prepared with an estimated cost of Rs 230 billion in 2005. The incumbent govt of PML-N after coming into power in 2008, introduced Metro Bus and Orange Line Train projects to resolve public transport problems of the provincial capital. First Metro Bus project was completed with Rs 30b in 2013 and the second one, the Orange Line project was signed with the Chinese firms with an estimated cost of Rs 165 billion.

approximately 1.5 dollars which is one billion dollar less than the previous government’s plan.

Sources added that the Punjab government saved this huge amount by changing the design of the project including change of route from Ferozepur Road to the Raiwind- Multan Road towards the northern parts of the city besides shifting the track from underground to the elevated path etc. The new project has been finalized to widen the area of coverage of the train with the aim to facilitate more people, sources maintained.

The 27-km long Lahore Orange Line Metro Train will be constructed on Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis while work on this mega project will be started by end of July this year. A consortium of Chinese firms in collaboration with the Metro Bus Authority and the Punjab government will complete this project which is the biggest project of its kind worth Rs 165 billion.

The Chinese consortium hired the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) for the construction of track and other related works while they will run it for a period of 25 years on BOT basis.

It is pertinent to mention here that it is the largest project of mass transit in the country in which China is going to invest a huge amount on BOT basis.

Orange Line Train is part of the Metro network in Lahore and when completed, it will connect Raiwind, Multan Road, Mcleod Road, Lahore Junction railway station and the Grand Trunk Road. It will be the first line of the Lahore Metro, which is country’s first mass rapid transit train system.

It will also be financed and developed by the Chinese government.

The corridor will be capable of accommodating two trains running both up and down the track, ferrying up to 30,000 passengers per hour.

The Orange Line Metro will run on a 27.1 kilometre track, of which 25.4 kilometres will be elevated. The service will initially benefit around 250,000 passengers a day and this capacity will be increased to 500,000 passengers daily by 2025.