LAHORE– The Water and Power Ministry told the Lahore High Court on Monday that hydel power generation in the country has plummeted to 2800 mega watts from full capacity of 6500 mega watts due to scarcity of  water in dams as snow melting on mountains has not started so far.

This was stated by Joint Secretary Zargam Shah who appeared before the court in connection with a petition challenging long electricity outage in Punjab.

He pointed out that 66 per cent of total electricity is consumed in Punjab, 16 per cent KPK, 12 percent Sindh and 6 per cent is given to Balochistan.

He further stated that recovery of bills is higher side in Punjab to 96 per cent whereas it is 63 per cent in Sindh, 87 in KPK and only 23 per cent bills are been paid in Balochistan.

He said the cost of hydel electricity is Rs1.59 per unit while furnace oil units produce one unit at the cost of Rs18.

Petitioner-counsel Azhar Siddique objected to it and said it is the jugglery of figures and ministry had not told the reasons of non-provision of electricity to Punjab. He said Punjab is bearing the brunt of severe load-shedding despite the highest recovery of bills. He said big cities of Punjab like Lahore are facing 20 hours load-shedding while only one hour load shedding is being carried out in Karachi.  Court asked joint secretary to apprise it about the steps taken to nab electricity thieves and to conserve the electricity.

Khawaja Tariq Raheem, counsel for WAPDA, explained that the load-shedding crisis could be overcome if the gas supply is restored.

He said a power plant to the capacity of 600 mega watts at Kot Addu has been shut down due to non-availability of gas.

Azhar said council of common interest had decided to withdraw supply of 300 mw to Karachi Electric Supply Company but it was never implemented. Joint secretary said Sindh High Court had issued a stay order on January 15.

He said draft of energy conservation law has been prepared and soon would be promulgated. It would help in saving energy and new meter reading system will be introduced.

The court asked ministry of water and power to submit all relevant details by April 19.

DEFERRED: The Lahore High Court election tribunal on Monday deferred hearing of an appeal filed by Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf against the rejection of his nomination papers from NA-139, Kasur, till April 16. The tribunal comprising Justice Khawaja Imtiaz Ahmad and Justice Muhammad Khalid Mehmood Khan observed that it was a sensitive and important matter; therefore, it would be heard tomorrow as little time left today.

Pervez Musharraf through his appeal submitted that he had served the country as president for 10 years, but the returning officer of Kasur rejected his nomination papers. The appellant pointed out that his nomination papers were accepted from NA-32, Chitral.

He asked the tribunal to set aside returning officer's order and allow him to contest the election from Kasur.