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ISLAMABAD, Jul 25 (APP): Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Monday informed the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Water and Power that the Sindh governemnt was reluctant to pay Rs 70 billion to the Centre on account electricity charges.

The provincial government, he said, was not even paying the amount which had been reconciled for the last three years. The issue had been pending since 2010, he added.

The committee, which met here with Muhammad Arshad Khan Laghari in the chair, reviewed implementation status of the recommendations and confirmation of minutes of the meeting held on April 28, besides briefing on all types of energy development schemes/projects underway in the country.

The minister said the Karachi Water Board alone was defaulter of Rs 36 billion. The residents of the mega city would suffer if power supply to the Water Board was suspended on account of not clearing their dues, he added.

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He urged the committee members belonging to Sindh to help the federal government to recover the outstanding dues from the provincial government.

Secretary Water and Power Mohammad Younus Daga told the committee that meter reading through mobile phones process was started to end over billing in Hyderabad and Sukkur Electric Supply Companies.

Managing Director Private Power Infrastructure Board (PPIB) Shahjhan told the panel that PPIB was pursuing various power projects in private sectors. These projects included 6300 MW hydel,8083 MW coal and 120 MW gas, he added.

He said 1320 MW Sahiwal and 1320 MW Port Qasim coal based projects have already attained financial closed and these would be completed by December 2017.

He said work has also been started on transmission line to evacuate power from Thar coal.

The Minister said mining of Thar coal has been started for the first time and soon Thar would be energy hub of the country.

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He said power plant was also being set up in Thar to generate lectricity from local coal.

The Minister also took notice of the forced load-shedding of electricity in some DISCOs and directed the management to report the Committee regarding the matter and also ensure the Committee that strict action would be taken against the responsible.

The Committee also directed the Ministry to eliminate the factor of overbilling in order to facilitate the individual consumer.

The meeting was attended by MNAs Sardar Mansab Ali Dogar, Rana Muhammad Ishaq Khan, Rao Muhammad Amjal Khan, Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah, Nawab Muhammad Yousaf Talpur, Malik Ghulam Rabbani Khar, Junaid Akbar, Maulana Muhammad Gohar Shah, Dr Syed Ghazi Gulab Jamal, Sahibzada Muhammad Yaqub, CEO AEDB Amjad Awan, CEO IESCO Dr Abdul Jabbar, CEOs SEPCO and HESCO and officials from ministry of water and power.