PAT decries plan to put additional burden of $1.5 billion on electricity consumers

Senior PAT leader Dr Hassan Mohi-ud-Din Qadri has asked the government to refrain from putting an additional burden of $1.5 billion on the electricity consumers in the name of security of power plants. He said that the poor are already bearing the brunt of inflated power tariff and if more burden is added, it would lead to more economic miseries and suicides. He said that if the Cabinet Coordination Committee did not take back the summary, the PAT would lodge strong protest throughout the country.

Dr Hassan expressed these views while presiding over a meeting of the Central Core Committee members as well as the office bearers of various wings of the party yesterday. He said that the PAT has always exposed the anti-people policies of the rulers and the same is being done in the case of planned increase in power tariff. He asked the Opposition political parties to take note of this measure and put their pressure on the government to stay away from this step. He said that the federal government is already charging an additional amount of Rs. 3.50 per unit in the name of low recovery, line losses, and debt servicing, adding that deductions in the name of overbilling, Neelum-Jhelum and power theft are over and above these.

The PAT leader said that the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet has planned to receive $1.5 billion for thirty years in the name of power projects being installed under the CPEC, a matter about which Parliament remains unaware. He said that it is surprising that the rulers who do not tire of recounting the benefits of the CPEC day in and day out are shifting the burden on the people well before even projects are complete. He said that per unit electricity is already costlier in the region which explains why capital and factories are being shifted abroad with the result that massive job lay-offs have taken place. But instead of reducing the prices of electricity, the rulers are increasing their tariff. He said that such a situation would lead to more suicides, social unrest and increase in crimes.

Dr Hassan Mohi-ud-Din Qadri said that the rulers are adding to taxes and economic burden of the people by spending the precious national resources on such fancy projects as Orange Line and Metro bus. Poverty is increasing in the country and the payment of utility bills has become difficult already. He said that ground realities are suggesting with regard to special development goals that there is 73% poverty in FATA, 71% in Balochistan, 49% in GB, 43% in Sind and 31% in Punjab. He said that 31% of population is living below the poverty line, 80% population remains deprived of access to clean drinking water whereas 61% does not have access to such facilities as health and education. He said that people overlook their basic necessities such as food, education and health to pay for the inflated utility bills. He said that we ask the Opposition parties to expose the government’s plan of putting an additional burden of $1.5 billion on the people and the parliamentary parties should play their role in the Parliament and provincial legislatures in this regard.