MIRPUR (AJK)-AJK power consumers including public sector departments owed a huge amount Rs12 billion to the state electricity department in outstanding electricity bills, AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider was informed during a high level meeting held here the other day.

“Half of the outstanding amount is to be recovered from public sector department and Rs4 billion to be recovered from domestic consumers in the State”, the meeting was told. The PM was informed that the State Electricity Department has set a target for the recovery of Rs6 billion during the current financial year.

AJK Chief Secretary Mian Waheeduddin, IGP Shoaib Dastageer, DIG Special Branch Sardar Gulfraz Abbasi, DIG (Headquarters) Tahir Mehmood Qureshi, DIG (Traffic) Liaquat Ali, DIG (Region) Sardar Ilyas Khan, SSP Muzaffarabad and other senior officials of the other nation building institutions attended the meeting. Raja Farooq Haider was apprised of the line losses and outstanding amount consumers have to pay to the Electricity Department.

He was also informed that the federal government has agreed to bring water use charges equal to royalty. “However, services of consultants would be hired by the department to ascertain its benefits and other aspects. The comprehensive report of the consultants would be submitted to the Prime Minister”, he was told.

Addressing the meeting, the AJK PM directed the officials to take concrete steps for recovery of the arrears outstanding in power bills, saying maximum revenues of the state comes from electricity department. He urged for up-gradation of transmission lines to ensure minimum line losses. “Awareness should be created among the masses to prevent unnecessary use of power”, he pointed out. He directed the electricity officials to ensure early recovery from government departments and installation of separate meters for them in consultation with the Finance Department. He emphasized that steps should be accelerated for separate meters and recovery of arrears from the Education Department. The Premier was of the view that through significant reduction in line losses and judicious use of power the power outages could also be overcome in the State.

He said public sector projects like Neelum-Jhelum project and Mangla Dam project are not only the main sources of income of the State but also playing important role in meeting the power needs of the country. He called for bringing down loadshedding in AJK for which contacts on regular basis should be made with the Wapda and other power supplying companies in Pakistan. Haider assured that government would spare no effort to address the issues of Neelum River water and protection of natural atmosphere of Muzaffarabad.

Earlier, the AJK PM visited police training centre Shaukat Line and handed over keys of newly purchased vehicles and forklift trucks to the officials concerned. He also inspected various sections of the police lines including under construction buildings and barracks for recruits. The Premier was given detailed briefing by Additional Inspector General Police Sardar Faheem Ahmed Abbasi on the Counter Terrorism Department.

SP Abid Mir briefed the PM on police reforms, completed and ongoing development projects and future planning of police force.