LAHORE: Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Mian Mahmoodur Rashid has said that despite 15 to 20 hours of electricity outages, bills for the month of June are 120 percent more than what the consumers received in the corresponding month in 2013.
Addressing a press conference at his chamber on Friday, Rashid said that the rulers have snatched the happiness of Eid from consumers, as they have been left with no money to celebrate Eid after paying these exorbitant bills. He said that 13,000 demonstrations have been held in the last six months against the performance of the Punjab government, which was enough to expose the so-called “high performing” provincial government.
The opposition leader said the electricity authorities have sent bills by deliberately adding 200 fictitious units to every household, leaving the people baffled to arrange money to buy clothes for their children on Eid or to pay the electricity bills. He said that the prime minister remains unmoved on this criminal act and neither any court has taken suo motu action on the issue nor has the Punjab chief minister taken to the streets in support of the public. He said that Rs 144 billion were collected under the guise of Neelum-Jhelum surcharge, electricity duty, TV licence fee and general sales tax in the month of June alone. He said the present rulers came to power only by using the slogan of overcoming energy crisis but that they were instead looting the public exchequer in the name of establishing power projects. He said that the truth was that not a single unit of electricity had been added to the national grid in the last one year. He said that rulers were squeezing the poor in order to arrange lavish spending on “useless” projects.
He said Rs 500 billion were paid to clear the circular debt, Rs 57 billion were spent on Nandipur Power Project while Rs 8 billion on Guddu Power Plant Extension but that the entire money had gone down the drain and the rulers stand nowhere in the face of their tall claims they had made before the 2013 elections.
He said that the rulers should tell the public as to why Nandipur and Guddu power plants remain shut despite spending huge amount of money on them this year. Claiming that the month of July had seen the highest ever shortfall of 10,000 MW of electricity, he urged the Punjab sports minister in what appeared to be a sarcastic tone to get this “shameful” record registered in the Guinness Book of World Records also.
He said that due to low voltage, electric equipment worth billions of rupees had been burnt, urging consumers to lodge cases against Wapda whenever any such incident occurs.
He said that during one year, over 1 million people have been rendered jobless and if this ratio persists, over 3 million people would lose jobs in the next year, landing millions of families in hunger and illness.
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