By Sahibzada Hussain Mohi-ud-Din Qadri
The unabated spate of load shedding throughout Pakistan has made life difficult to live in this sizzling summer. The unending energy crisis with power outages for more than 15 hours on daily basis has also dealt a severe blow to the national economy. Resultantly, business units and factories are getting shut down and layoffs of the workers are reported to be running in hundreds of thousands with grave implications for already burgeoning unemployment and poverty. According to a careful estimate, the difference between demand and supply is above five thousand megawatts, which is likely to increase as the weather gets even hotter in the months of June and July. The monster of load shedding first raised its head in 2007 and the national power scene has been becoming uglier with every passing year.
There have been minor fluctuations and readjustments between demand and supply due to weather and water factors but the crisis on the whole has remained consistent in its lethality and ugliness. The criticality of situation warranted urgent policy response at the highest level but the same was not forthcoming, thanks to red-tapism and perennial malaise afflicting our decision-making processes. The questions arise in the background of severity of the crisis: has Pakistan in reality been deprived of treasure of energy? Do we have no alternative system to produce electricity in the country? Can we establish energy market, the biggest in the region through collaboration with neighbouring India and other countries? These are the questions whose answers should be in the affirmative, which should not be less than a glad tiding for the people hit hard by crises of different nature. Resort to empty promises, a favourite pastime of the government, would not help.
It is about time that the government made practical strategies to resolve the energy crisis on the war footing basis without any further delay.... [continues]
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