Senate pins power breakdown blame on govt 'mismanagement'
26 February, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Members of the Upper House of parliament on Monday termed Sunday night's nationwide power breakdown a failure of the government, blaming mismanagement, inefficiency and political appointments root cause of all ills.
A technical fault in the Uch Power Plant on Sunday night proved disastrous for the whole power network, as it caused the Tarbela and Mangla power plants to trip. The country was enveloped by darkness as the grid stations started going down one by one. MQM's Senator Tahir Hussain raised the issue in a point of order, while other senators also spoke on the matter and walked out over it.
ANP Senator and Senate Standing Committee on Water and Power Chairman Zahid Khan remarked that the power failure smelled of foreign aggression against the country. He said everything in the country was being done on the basis of like and dislike, and there was mismanagement in the Ministry of Water and Power. He claimed that a Grade 21 officer was made the ministry's secretary, while a Grade 22 officer was working under her, which created resentment among the senior officials of the ministry.
Zahid Khan also claimed that neither the minister nor the secretary are attending the meetings of the Standing Committee on Water and Power where these issues are discussed. The ministry's affairs are being run on the basis of like and dislike, he stated, adding that this was behind poor condition of the power sector in the country. The senator said that a rift was created between the government and its coalition partners over amendments to the Senate rules regarding reducing the number of senators in the standing committees.
Meanwhile, PPP's Senator Islamauddin Shaikh presented the amendment, which was opposed by Senator Zahid Khan. He said there was some conspiracy against the 18th Amendment and some officials do not want to transfer power to provinces. He suggested transferring the proposed amendment to the relevant standing committee for deliberation.
When Senate Chairman Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari was about to call a vote over it, the opposition leader in the House, Ishaq Dar, suggested that it is a sensitive issue and deferred it for today (Tuesday). He asked why was there a hurry to pass this amendment, noting that the government can pass it with its numerical strength, but it will be better to get consensus. The Senate chairman deferred the amendment for today (Tuesday).
The Senate also took up the motion of Col (r) Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi for discussion on the public transport system in the Islamabad Capital Territory. The lawmaker regretted that there is no public transport facility in the capital, while every capital of world has cheap and fast means of transportation. Mashhadi noted that due to the absence of public transport, the number of private cars was rising in the capital, which was also causing increase in pollution.
He suggested that there should be an authority for the establishment of an efficient transport system in the capital. Senator Babar Awan, meanwhile, informed the House that few decades ago Romania gave some buses to Pakistan to be run in Islamabad, but they were dumped. Speaking on his turn, Eng Hamayun Mandokhel said that every country in Europe had good transport facility, and asked what impression would foreigners get when they see that the capital has no public transport system.
Senate Chairman Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari formed a special committee comprising leaders of the House and opposition and others to give suggestions on establishing an efficient transport facility in the capital. Separately, Bokhari allotted opposition benches to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Monday. It must be noted that after parting ways with the federal and Sindh governments, the MQM had submitted an application for the allotment of opposition benches in National Assembly and Senate.