A programme of the Sindh government to use solar power for energising some 200,000 off-grid homes in the rural areas with the assistance of the World Bank would be completed by 2024, the provincial assembly was informed on Monday.
Responding to written and oral queries of lawmakers during the question hour of the session, Energy Minister Imtiaz Sheikh said the provincial government had increased the subsidy for the programme due to the constant increase in the cost of solar energy equipment, including solar panels, owing to the devaluing rupee.
Sheikh said the Sindh Solar Energy Programme was being implemented with the vision that every home in the province should be electrified. He told the house that the wind corridor and Thar coal reserves were capable of providing electricity to every household in Pakistan at cheap rates.
He said the provincial government had the utmost willingness that the energy resources available in the province should be fully utilised for ending the electricity crisis in the country. He also said that assistance of the World Bank was being availed to ensure the provision of cheap and uninterrupted electricity to the residents of the province.
The minister said that solar systems were being installed at different government buildings for meeting their electricity needs through renewable energy means. Similar solar systems will be installed at different jails in the province, he added.
He informed the lawmakers that the provincial government had also been implementing the programme to electrify several villages in the province that fall in the domain of the Hyderabad Electric Supply Company and the Sukkur Electric Power Company. He also criticised the relevant federal authorities for subjecting Sindh's consumers to gas shortage.
Earlier, the House witnessed serious commotion and an exchange of harsh remarks between the lawmakers on the treasury and opposition benches when the energy minister greeted congratulated the leadership of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) for securing an overwhelming victory in the local government by-elections held in the province on Sunday.
The minister said the people had reposed full confidence in the PPP leadership owing to the remarkable public service by the provincial government over the past many years. Opposition lawmakers Khurrum Sher Zaman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Syed Abdul Rasheed of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal claimed that the ruling PPP had committed rigging in the by-polls and bought people's loyalties.
Zaman claimed that the PPP would not get the opportunity to secure Karachi's mayoral position because the efforts of the ruling party for it would go in vain. He also claimed that the PTI had the decisive role in choosing the next city mayor.