ISLAMABAD - AHMAD AHMADANI -

Feeling no heat of the order of the prime minister, the government officers did not turn off their air conditioners on the first day of the ban imposed by the government.

The officials preferred their convenience instead of obeying the orders of Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khoso who issued a notification banning the use of air conditioners in government offices from May 15 to conserve energy.

On the first day, officials at ministries of water and power, petroleum and natural resources, trade and commerce, economic affair division and Capital Development Authority (CDA) did not turn off their air conditioners.

Official on the condition of anonymity said that they could not sit in offices for long without using air conditioners. “Most of the rooms are without fans so how the use of air conditioners can be stopped.” They say that the government offices are centrally air-conditioned so they need to procure fans to replace the air conditioners.

“But the procurement process as stipulated by the Public Procurement Rules Authority (PPRA) takes time -- from issuing a tender to awarding the contract -- and it is a foregone conclusion that the time left to the caretakers is not sufficient to ensure that the procurement process is completed while adhering to PPRA.”

On last Wednesday, the caretaker government decided to impose a ban on the use of air conditioners in all government departments and offices in a move to conserve power in the energy-starved country.

According to a press release from the Prime Minister’s House, the ban would come into effect from May 15 and shall continue until such time that there is substantial improvement in the energy situation in Pakistan.

“The Prime Minister’s House had already discontinued use of air conditioners as part of its austerity and conservation drive,” said the press release.

The measure reflects the resolve of the government to manage the power crisis by management of demand. The prime minister also directed the introduction of a “summer dress code” for federal government employees. The special dress code will facilitate government employees at their work places after the ban on air conditioners, said the press release.

“The dress code includes white or light coloured (beige, light gray, sky blue, off-white, cream) shirt/bush shirt (full-sleeved or half sleeved) with light coloured (as prescribed for shirt) trouser or shalwar kameez with waist coat, and moccasins (shoes without laces) or sandals (shoes with straps) without socks. All public servants have been given seven days for preparations and have been directed to observe the dress code.”

The prime minister appealed to the people to adopt energy conservation in their homes and workplace to minimise load-shedding and encourage a culture of conservation in the country.