ISLAMABAD  -  Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed massive crackdown to control power theft so that the additional burden of electricity tariff on consumers could be cut down.

Chairing a meeting of the Energy Task Force here at the Prime Minister Office on Monday, the Prime Minister said they could not make general consumers to pay for the weaknesses in the system, especially for those involved in the power theft.

Premier Khan said that for the first time, the government was formulating the energy policy keeping in view the country's needs for another 25 years to fulfil the future domestic and industrial needs besides ensuring energy mix and devising a well-coordinated framework for energy policy. During the briefing given to the premier, it was told that steps were being taken to reduce dependence on the imported fuel and local energy resources would be exploited at optimal level to generate electricity.

He was apprised that Punjab government had formed a task force under the Punjab chief minister to curb power theft and the deputy commissioners concerned would move against power theft in their respective districts. Other provinces had also been directed to follow the suit, it was told.

The meeting was further informed that they had chalked out comprehensive strategy and latest technology would be used to improve power transmission and distribution system that would help reduce the line losses.

The prime minister directed the Power Division to formulate a comprehensive plan to include the representatives of different companies to resolve the issues in supply of quality power transformers. The meeting decided to give special attention to the exploration of oil and gas.

The prime minister was apprised that Pakistan was rich of world's ninth largest reserves of shale gas but the previous governments paid no heed to exploit those resources. It was told that not even a single block was awarded during last five and half years while the incumbent government would soon finalise the award of 10 blocks in a transparent manner.

The process to award another 30 blocks would be started that would also comprise holding of road shows at international level to attract the firms.

The prime minister was apprised that 41 blocks were awarded in the past, spread over 41 per cent parts of the country, where only four per cent of the work could be completed so far.

The meeting also reviewed the impediments in exploration of oil and gas and decided to get the services of Oil and Gas Development Company to conduct the seismic survey to accelerate the exploration.

The prime minister directed the urgent measures to resolve the security related issues confronting the oil and gas exploring entities. The Frontier Constabulary would give protection cover to the firms in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, it was decided.

The meeting was told that the foreign companies having winded up their operations in Pakistan could be brought back by addressing the impediments in oil and gas exploration. The prime minister welcomed the return of world-renowned exploration firm Exxon to Pakistan and resolved that the government would extend all-out facilities to it in the country.