ISLAMABAD - A Senate standing committee yesterday recommended referring the increase in net hydel profit share of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the Council of Common Interest (CCI).

The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra), in November, had increased the KP’s share in net hydel profit from Rs 6 billion to Rs18 billion per year but the increase is conditioned with the sanction of CCI. Later, it was agreed that both the Ministry of Water and Power and the KP government would take the matter to the CCI for a final decision.

The meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Water and Power, presided over by its Chairman Zafar Iqbal Jhagra, also discussed the matters related to K-electric, extensive load shedding in KP and Baluchistan.

It was brought to the notice of the committee that instead of 650 mega watt electricity K-electric is getting 750 MW, from the national grid for the last two years. The committee directed K-Electric to bring the details of new agreement and power generation to the next meeting of the committee.

Regarding stopping of medical facilities to the low salaried employees of K-Electric, Senator Taj Haider said that a deal in this regard was struck between the employees and K-Electric but it was terminated by the company’s management the very next day. The sacked employees of the company won the case in Sindh High Court but the decision was challenged, by K-Electric in the Supreme Court. Taj Haider proposed that the committee should pray to the apex court to listen to the version of sacked employees. The proposal was backed by the members of the committee.

Khalid Rehman of K-Electric said that in 2011 these employees quit the job under the golden handshake policy and there was no intention of firing of any other employ from the job.

The standing committee showed concern over the absence of the Federal Minister for Water and Power, Minister of State and Secretary of the ministry from the crucial meeting. The issue of nonparticipation of the highups of water and power was raised by Senator Nisar Khan. He said that the meeting of the committee is taking place after four months and even then none of the highups of the ministry has participated in the meeting.

Chairman of the committee said that since the federal minister for water and power is on a foreign trip, therefore, it was not possible for him to attend the meeting; however, the minister of state and federal secretary for water and power should have attended the meeting.

Senator Nisar said that Malakand Division is one of those areas of the country where the recovery of bills is 97 percent but still it is facing 14-hour loadshedding. Senator Mir Kabir lamented the issue of extensive loadshedding in Baluchistan and said that because of unavailability of electricity it is hard for the farmers of the province to survive.

The loadshedding has left the famers under heavy debt and people unemployed, he said. To improve the condition of the farmers, Mir Kabeer proposed that the subsidy paid by the government to the farmers should be used for the conversion of about 30000 tube wells in the province to solar energy.

To get the point of view of the concerned ministries and department, over the conversion of tube wells to solar energy, it was decided to invite the representatives of the Ministries of Science & Technology, National Food Security and Chairman Agriculture Development Bank for the next meeting of the committee.

Senator Azam Swati and Salhudin Taramzi also raised the issues of severe loadshedding in Mansehra and other parts of Hazar Division.