MARIA MALIK

Despite the season of political agitation, its continuous pressure and extraordinary challenges at international diplomacy, the government is running its affairs with considerate political poise and maturity. The government is showing the due restraint to political incitation to be able to work on the main objective of focusing on welfare of the public. The incumbent federal government has completed more than 3 years of its tenure and the list of daunting challenges being faced by the government since it took charge of executive authority of the country, included complex problem of terrorism and extremism in all its forms and manifestations; resurgence of economy with overhauling of all allied sectors including energy etc; cementing of political system and democratic norms; and safeguarding national interests while improving international relations at diplomatic front. Our civil and military leadership has achieved many successes in maintaining law and order situation in this government’s tenure so far. Operation Zarb-e-Azb and National Action Plan are on their way towards ultimate success while on the other hand government is trying best to meet other challenges of governance as well.

Governance is an art of providing basic civic amenities to masses and provision of electricity is no doubt should be among priorities of the any government. Recently, the incumbent government took number of appreciative decisions to promptly complete its ongoing projects especially in the field of electricity generation. The decisions depict the right direction and befitting cognizance of one of the most significant civic challenges of electricity crisis, which is being faced by Pakistan since years.

Government has time and again reiterated its resolve that by 2018 the electricity deficit will be compensated for, because of the multiple electricity projects that have been initiated and are being completed by this government. Though cynics rate this claim of eliminating electricity crisis by 2018 as mere rhetoric for political point scoring, there are considerate chances that this goal will be achieved by the application of exceptional energy policy. As recently Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif expressed that this government has adopted policy of “energy mix” that aims to rely on diverse sources for energy production. Government is following this policy of diverse sources on two levels i.e. at the level of financial resources and the technical level of generating different types of electricity.

Government is not merely relying on government finances to invest in this field of electricity generation rather it is appreciative that government is encouraging and facilitating private sector as well. The most recent in this list of private sector initiatives is 40MW coal based power plant in Faisalabad by Sitara Chemical Industries Ltd. Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif himself graced the occasion of ground-breaking of the project and duly termed this trend a step towards as “self-reliance” in power generation. If the industrial giant units are encouraged and aptly facilitated by government in investing in electricity generation, this could bring an easy remedy to mitigate energy deficit in the country. Industrial usage of electricity is no doubt a major chunk of total required electricity generation. And facilitation and encouragement towards self reliance for industries will not only ease down burden but it is also equally vital to enable industries to give national economy a positive and sustained development.

Apart from encouraging local investment project in electricity field, government has also taken steps towards exploring international opportunities to help solve the energy crisis . Central Asia and South Asia (CASA) 1000 is a glaring example government’s keen interest to duly facilitate an international project in energy sector. The project CASA-1000 was conceived in 2007 and government is actively working for this implementation phase of the project that will bring 1000MW of electricity from Tajikistan and Kyrgyz Republic through Afghanistan.

Among other projects on which government is working include 1000MW solar power project in Bahawalpur, 1230MW gas power project in Havili Bahadurshah Jhang, 1223MW combined cycle power project at Balloki, Kasur and 1320MW coal power project at Sahiwal. These power projects reflect on the diversity of generation types government is focusing on in order to meet the electricity shortfall. Moreover, as per facts released by Ministry of Water and Power, nine power projects with generation capacity of over 1000MW have now been completed and PM is about to inaugurate them. Of these 1000MWs projects, 380MW of power is to be generated by wind sources and the remaining of 680MW of power will be generated by nuclear energy. The projects of wind power include various initiatives taken by private industrial sector for generating 50MW each. These include Yunus Energy, Metro Power, Gul Ahmed Energy, Master Energy, Tapal Energy, Hydro China Dawood and TAnaga Generasi. The projects of nuclear energy, Chasma 3 of 340MW, will be ready for generation by October 2016, and Chasma 4 of 340MW will be completed by March 2017.

While duly focusing on generation of power, it is also appreciative that government is working for the improvement of overall power generation system as well. According to Ministry of Water and Power, a number of transmission lines projects are in the pipeline and work on them will be started soon. This includes various projects of 680kms of transmissions lines which will surely add towards making the system more effective. Few other steps towards improvement of the system include a Mobile Meter reading programme under FESCO and IESCO. Furthermore, IESCO is also working on new programe of Customer Response System.

Experimenting with new opportunities and exploring every possible opening is perhaps the best strategy to cope with this complex and chronic challenge of energy crisis . It is hoped that Government will keep up this good work and country will be able to get rid of loadshedding by 2018 positively.