ISLAMABAD - Terming elimination of loadshedding the government’s top priority in the shortest possible time, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday directed the WAPDA authorities to provide maximum relief to the people by efficiently managing the power shortage.

The sources aware of the deliberations of the Cabinet Committee on Energy meeting informed The Nation that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has expressed his strongest displeasure over the sudden increase in loadshedding and the failure of the Ministry of Water and Power to handle the situation.

The sources further said the sudden increase in the loadshedding span up to over seven to eight hours and in certain areas well over 12 hours belied the government’s claim of bringing to an end the loadshedding from the country before the culmination of the mandated term in early 2018.

The opposition parties had put the government on mat over its failure to overcome the power supply crisis with the sudden increase in mercury. They had also raised serious concerns within the ruling party which had informally started campaign for next general elections.

According to the details given by the Prime Minister’s media section, the Water and Power secretary briefed the Cabinet Committee on Energy on the surge in power demand due to early rise in temperature this season and dip in water level in the reservoirs. The meeting was also briefed about the existing power demand and supply situation, load management plan and timelines for various ongoing power projects.

It was informed that a total of 5,710 megawatts would be added to the system by the end of the year. The issues of circular debt, recoveries and line losses were also discussed.

The petroleum & natural resources secretary briefed the meeting on fuel and gas supply to the power sector and the provision of new gas connections to domestic, industrial and commercial users.

The prime minister said it was the highest priority of the government to completely eliminate loadshedding in the shortest possible time. The government has steadfastly worked in the last three years to achieve its cherished goal and all the base work for achieving this target has been completed.

“With more than 8,000 megawatts of new generation scheduled to be added to the national grid before June 2018, we will have a loadshedding-free Pakistan,” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif emphatically said. The government, he said, was not only focusing on the prevailing energy shortfalls in Pakistan, but also was determined to provide for the growing future energy requirements of the country. The prime minister directed early completion of power projects without compromising on efficiency and quality of work. The PM also ordered enhanced coordination among different government organizations to facilitate end users. “No laxity would be tolerated with regard to timelines for completion of ongoing projects,” warned the prime minister. The Cabinet Committee on Energy approved new Re-gasified Liquid Natural Gas (RLNG)-based gas connections for domestic, industrial and commercial consumers. The recommendations of the Cabinet Committee on Energy shall be placed before next meeting of the federal cabinet for ratification.

The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Water & Power Minister Khawaja Asif, Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and other senior government officials.

PM briefed on PAF’s preparedness 

Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman Monday briefed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the professional and operational preparedness of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF).

During a meeting held at Prime Minister’s House, Sharif appreciated the role of the PAF in protecting the country’s air space. The prime minister said, “Our air force has invariably played a crucial role in the national defense.” The government will ensure provision of all necessary resources for further advancement of PAF, he added.