Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan had promised Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) will produce surplus electricity within five years, which will be provided to other provinces after fulfilling local demands.
In his interview with Geo Television, Khan had said PTI was making all out efforts to make KP an ideal province for other federating units in terms of progress and prosperity.
”Within five years, KP will be able to produce enough energy to supply other provinces as well… [We’ll] make KP an ideal province to ensure transparency and accountability in governance,” Khan had told Geo Television “Capital Talk” show.
Pakistan has been hit by the worst power crisis in 2007 when production of electricity fell by 6,000 megawatts, forcing the government to resort to massive blackouts across the country.
PTI manifesto titled “AN AGENDA FOR RESURGENCE” presents a detailed plan for solving energy crises. The first point on the agenda is re-focusing investment and resources on generation of power from hydel sources. KP has huge potentials for hyrdo power generation on the running rivers and rivulets in Malakand and Hazara divisions.
To gauge PTI’s level of commitment on generating surplus electricity in the wake of power crisis, Truth Tracker approached Mohammad Atif Khan, minister for energy and power and elementary and secondary education, repeatedly who neither returned phone calls nor text messages.
However, Asad Ali Shah, media officer of the energy and power department, said the provincial government is initially building power stations in 12 districts of the province amounting to Rs. 6 billion.
“Of 356, as many as 200 power stations, which are called mini micro hydel stations, have been completed, costing Rs. 6 billion,” Shah noted.
He said PTI has launched 84-megawatts Matiltan run-of-the-river hydropower, which is among the big projects located in the Gorkin Matiltan region of Kalam Valley in the district of Swat.
In addition, work on the 69-megawatts Lawi Hydro Power Project in Darosh area of Chitral is in progress. “Three projects have started power generation but inauguration ceremony yet to be formally held,” he said.
Similarly, collective power generation capacities of Daral Khwarr, Machai and Ranolia hydero power projects is 56-megawatts, which would start generating electricity this year.
“KP power demand stands at 2,100-megawatts while Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) gives the province 1,700-megawatts against its 1,900 megawatts quota,” he added.
He said the provincial government has awarded contracts of building power projects to private sector such as the 150-megawatts Shermai power project.
“The completion of these projects, each will take five years, will narrow down the demand and supply gap to a great extent,” he noted.
He said it would be the cheapest electricity available to the consumers once those projects are completed.
Mian Iftikhar Hussain Shah, a key leader of Awami National Party (ANP) and former information minister, said the PTI has done nothing to generate additional electricity but they only re-inaugurated the projects previously launched by the ANP.
He also raised a question on PTI’s unfulfilled pledge to build 350 dams in the province. The feasibility reports of small dams in Chitral, Dir and Madyen were prepared during the ANP government while PTI got the credit only by inaugurating them.
He said Imran Khan had promised cheaper electricity but today the people experience high power tariff per unit while far-flung villages are under prolonged electricity load-shedding.
He said the affairs of the provincial government are being run on borrowed loans and PTI would get another Rs. 52 billion tranche of loans.
“Only the Chitral dam has started generating electricity. Let me frankly tell you, the power crisis in KP has worsened than before,” he added.
Muhammad Ali Shah Bacha, Member Provincial Assembly (MPA) from Pakistan People’s Party (MPA), recalled the PTI had long before promised to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the province amid claims that they (the PTI) had conducted survey for construction of 300 small dams.
“I can testify that PTI has not completed a single power generating project so far,” he added. “At this time, we’re experiencing the worst kind of interrupted power supply with 18 to 20 hours daily load shedding,” he noted.
He said there are constituencies, which are facing up to 22 hours long load-shedding. “As the PTI tenure is inching closer towards its end, I don’t think the PTI can overcome the chronic electricity problem,” he remarked.
Sardar Aurangzeb, a senior leader and MPA from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), recalled Khan had promised to produce cheaper electricity, put an end to load-shedding, generate enough electricity to supply to other provinces and build more dams but the people of the province do not see anything like those on the ground.
“You have completed four of your five years constitutionally mandated tenure and you could not put an end to power load-shedding in a single village. How can you ensure 100% power supply to the entire province when you are only left with a year in office?” he questioned.
He asked did PTI honor its pledge regarding introducing equal education system, improving the health and education sectors. “I think PTI badly failed to show performance even in a single sector,” he added.
Truth Tracker approached Safiullah Gul, an independent analyst and a senior journalist, who said that PTI chairman had promised in 2013 to tackle the chronic power issue. However, they have only managed to initiate few small dams and power projects.
“these projects are barely capable of meeting the local demands, let alone supplying electricity to other provinces,” Gul noted.
He said the provincial government has not been able to fulfill the promise and live up to the expectations of people by leaving the power projects unfinished.
“But if we have a look on the ground, one cannot say that they have not fulfilled their promise,” he remarked. He said it is almost impossible for the PTI to generate the promised electricity in their one year tenure.
After evaluating views and remarks of the ruling and opposition lawmakers, and independent analyst, Truth Tracker rules that the PTI has compromised its promise to generate surplus electricity within five years to meet demands of KPK itself, not to mention its failure to live up to its vision of producing enough energy to provide to other provinces.