KARACHI: While Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah blamed the federal government for an acute shortage of gas and plundering the resources of the province, Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh told the Sindh Assembly on Tuesday that in the next 12 years, the province will run out of natural gas.
Tuesday’s proceedings witnessed an outcry and a tumultuous situation when Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani did not allow Firdous Shamim Naqvi of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf to address the legislators after the chief minister gave a hard-hitting policy speech against the federal government about the province’s continuing gas crisis.
GDA, MQM-P ‘can’t quit fed govt’
CM Shah came to the point of “violation” of Article 158 of the Constitution, asking the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan and the Grand Democratic Alliance to stand for their rights and lift a “effective” voice in the federal cabinet apart from the citizens of the province.
Murad Ali Shah urges opposition MQM-P, GDA to raise an effective voice in federal cabinet on Sindh’s issues
He said injustices were being committed against the citizens of the province and asked the opposition parties MQM-P and GDA, allies of the federal government, to lift the center’s concern.
“You cannot leave the federal government, I know, but you can at least raise the issues of the province,” he urged.
He said that, compared to its requirement of up to 1,600 MMCFD, Sindh produces around 2,500 to 2,600 MMCFD gas and has just 750 to 800 MMCFD.
Pointing to the business community members seated in the house in the visitor gallery, he said they had come to the Sindh Assembly to resolve the problem of gas shortages as their companies were badly affected.
The MQM-P feels the job is done only by writing a dissenting note on the census issue in the cabinet. Even the Sindh-owned PTI MPAs should ask their centre bosses to give Sindh their due share of resources, he added.
He remembered that he had written letters to Prime Minister Imran Khan giving the people of Sindh the right, but some people had ‘misguided’ him.
In response to my letters, the federal government maintained that as previous governments had signed MoU with SNGPL, it could not supply needed gas to Sindh,” he said, asking the PTI-led federal government not to blame previous governments as it had been in power for two and a half years.”
PTI members strongly protested after his policy announcement, as the speaker did not allow Mr Naqvi to respond. Hot words with the opposition members were also shared by the members of the treasury benches.
As the chaotic situation continued, the speaker grew irked and told the opposition representatives that once the minister finished his speech under Rule 261 of the Sindh Assembly’s Rules and Procedure, there could not be a debate.
“You can’t force me,” he went on to warn them.
Earlier, Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh claimed during Question Hour that “we will run out of natural gas in the next 12 years as resources are being reduced.”
He said the resources of Sindh were “stolen” and the province was granted the right to Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL).
In response to a query, Mr. Shaikh claimed that the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) had successfully completed 100% of the first phase of the mining project, running an open-cast lignite mine with an annual capacity of 3.8 million tonnes per year and supplying coal to Engro Powergen Thar Limited’s 660 MW Mine Mouth IPP.
SECMC has produced more than four million tonnes of coal to date. Moreover, SECMC has recently hit a financial stage similar to doubling its mining potential to 7.6 million tonnes per year, providing coal to two additional 330 MW power plants each… There is a gross electricity generation of 1,320 MW,” he added.”
Later in the proceedings, Syed Abdul Rasheed of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal withdrew his motion for adjournment of the government’s promise of the availability of job opportunities for the youth of Sindh.
Read Also: Plane crashes in New York, pilot injured
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla said jobs had to be declared in March 2020 in government sectors from grade 5 to 14, but it was postponed due to Covid-19. He said employment will soon be revealed.
In the meantime, the assembly unanimously passed a private bill moved by Rana Ansar of the MQM-P, The Sindh Water Supply (Amendment) Bill, 2020.