Planners responsible for power crisis: international seminar told

General Karachi

KARACHI: Zubair Motiwala Chairman Sindh Board of Investment BOI and a renowned industrialist held the planners responsible for the power crisis in the country.

He was speaking as the keynote speaker at the 28th Multi Topic International Symposium organized by Institution of Electrical and electronics Engineers Karachi chapter in Karachi on Wednesday.

The chief guest on the occasion was Engr Tahir Basharat Cheema central President IEEEP. Other who spoke on the occasion included Engr Obaidur Rehman Khan Chairman IEEEP Karachi Centre and Engr Ahmed Zubair.

Motiwala presenting statistics expressed surprise that the power generation mix in Pakistan relied so heavily on oil and gas while we are blessed with an abundance of coal. He said during his tenure his entire emphasis was to change that mix and make coal the primary source for producing power.

He said the coal or rather ignite found in Thar was as good as the same found in Australia and India, while both these two countries are producing power through coal we keep on increasing our reliance on oil which is a more expensive way of generating power.

He claimed that because of the use of gas in power generation and CNG there was scarcity in industry creating unemployment because industry cannot survive without proper infrastructure. He said a million jobs can be created if industry is provided the required infrastructure.

Motiwala said that we create bad examples such as rejecting a Chinese bid over less than a cent and now we are willing to pay much more and offer the most lucrative incentives but that one bad example keeps investors away. He said during Musharraf time Iran gas was available at much less but he said we don’t need it and now we have reached an agreement on same gas at many times the price we were offered at that time. Indecision and wrong planning have deterred our progress. He said youth is an asset as well as a danger “If you do not use this youth they will use you”. He said now while it is too late but things are moving in right direction and finally sovereign guarantees have been made available and work is progressing on Thar coal with a promise of future power generation through coal.

Engr Tahir Basharat Cheema agreed with the observations of Motiwala and commended him for his outspoken nature. He said today WAPDA is under a professional and he has hopes for the future especially in the face of recent reforms that have given WAPDA complete authority. He congratulated IEEEP for holding this international event for last 28 years and said Karachi chapter is an example for others.

Obaidur Rehman Khan presented the address of welcome while Engr Ahmed Zubair presented vote of thanks. The symposium will have 4 technical sessions in the course of two days, including presentation of technical papers by students who won the first three positions in the students’ seminar held earlier. An interesting panel discussion on “Countrywide electricity Blackouts…What Engineers can do” will wrap up the seminar on Thursday March 21. Panellists include Engr Munawar Baseer Ahmed Former MD PEPCO and SSGCL, Engr Roland D’Souza Principal EE Fahim Nanji and D’Souza Pvt Limited, Engr Tahir Bashir Cheema, Engr Arshad Raza and Engr Khalid Jamil.