KARACHI: The provincial cabinet, expressing serious reservations on the decision of the federal cabinet which has unilaterally amended Alternate and Renewable Energy (ARE) Policy 2019 approved by the Council of Common Interest (CCI) and excluded several Sindh government’s cheap alternate energy projects and included costly hydro-power projects, decided to refer the matter to joint parliament.
“The federal cabinet or cabinet committee on energy is not competent to amend any policy approved by the CCI, therefore, we would refer the matter to the joint parliament for discussion as we have already referred to the matter of census,” said Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah while presiding over a cabinet meeting here at CM House on Thursday. The meeting was attended by all the provincial ministers, advisors, special assistants, chief secretary Mumtaz Shah, Chairperson P and D Shireen Narejo and concerned secretaries.
Minister Energy Imtiaz Shaikh briefing the cabinet said that NTDC had submitted Indicative Generation Capacity Expansion Plan (IGCEP)-2047 in April 2020 based on certain assumption sets but it was withdrawn on the objections raised by the NEPRA. He added that after a public hearing, NEPRA directed NTDC to update the plan.
The Ministry of Energy (MoE) – Power Division, presented the IGCEP 2021-30 Assumption Set to Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) on April 20, 2021 and the same was approved on April 22, 2021. The IGCEP 2021 – 30 was formulated based on the approved Assumption Set by CCoE, using generation planning tool, PLEXOS, by considering all the existing as well as committed and candidate power plants.
The meeting was told that the CCI in its 47th meeting approved the National Electricity Policy (NEP) on 21stJune, 2021 mandating that the IGCEP 2021 – 30 Assumptions would be approved by the CCI. Accordingly, the Assumption Set was circulated among the provinces for the inputs/comments so that the same may be processed/considered.
The Sindh Energy department submitted it’s views/comments as follows:
To include the impact of actual power load shedding. In addition to the federal government PSDP having the PC-I approved and funding secured (as of March 2021) the Provincial Public Sector Projects with PC-1 approved by the ECNEC shall also be considered such as the World Bank funded `Sindh Solar Energy Project’ for development of 400 MW Solar energy;
The government to government (G2G) Power Generation projects which are listed under Federal government’s international (bilateral or multilateral) must include CPEC commitments in provinces too;
The Power projects based on Thar Coal for which associated mining lease has been signed for large scale exploration of coal;
In addition to Wind, Solar, Bagasse enlisted in Category I and II of CCoE’s decision of April 4, 2019 the RE-plants of Category-III having Tariff awarded by NEPRA before the notification of ARE Policy, 2019 shall be included. The Sindh has five wind projects of cumulative capacity of 275 MW;
Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that his government believes that a CCoE or Federal Cabinet decision could unilaterally amend ARE Policy 2019 which was approved by the CCI. He added that the Hydro was not the part of ARE Policy 2019. “The scope of ARE Policy 2019 covers technologies such as biogas, biomass, energy from waste, geothermal, hydrogen, synthetic gas, ocean/tidal wave energy, solar, storage technologies, wind and hybrid of all these technologies,” he elaborated.
The CM said that the `Presumed unilateral inclusion of hydel power in the ARE Policy 2019 would destroy the whole structure of the policy which was based on least cost and competitive bidding principles. Therefore, separate policy and targets should be introduced for Hydro projects, he suggested.
The cabinet was told that in the 48th CCI meeting held on 6th September, 2021 in which Sindh government had categorically objected to the way and manner in which IGCEP was being proposed and how it would have the effect of ignoring the cheaper electricity options of renewable energy such as wind and solar.
It is pointed out that when the Sindh CM had raised the issue that ARE Policy 2019 was being amended through IGCEP 2021 whereby Hydel was being made part of RE whereas it was not part of RE in ARE Policy, 2019. It was shocking to note that the minutes of 48th meeting of CCI issued on September 13, 2021 erroneously mentioned that the decision to approve the controversial IGCEP was made unanimously despite objections raised by different provinces including Sindh.
The cabinet after thorough discussions and deliberations decided to refer the matter to the joint parliament as was referred to as the matter of census approval. Procurement of buses: Minister Transport Awais Qadir shah told the cabinet that the chief minister has already allocated Rs8 billion in 2020-21 and Rs6.4 billion in 2021-22 for procurement of 250 Diesel Hybrid Electric Buses under Sindh Intra-district peoples Bus service Project for Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Larkano, Mirpurkhas and Shaheed Benazirabad.
The cabinet approved to award the project to the NRTC to procure the buses by December 2021 and invest Rs3 billion on the development of infrastructure such as establishment of Depots and bus stops and operate the buses. The chief minister termed it good news for the people of the province, particularly of the city.
Subsidy to farmers: Advisor to CM on Agriculture Manzoor Wassan told the cabinet that the federal government has approved subsidies to the farmers during Kharif crop 2021. He added that the on fertilizers (DAP) for Rice and Cotton would be given at the rate of Rs1500 per acre in which the federal government would give 75 percent or Rs2.7 billion and the provincial government would share 25 percent or Rs902 million.
Similarly, subsidy on cotton and rice seed would be given at Rs.12,00 per acre and subsidy for white fly control would be Rs12,00 per acre.
Mr Wassan said that the Board of Revenue (BoR) has collected the data of the farmers at taluka level and growers have been categorized in two slabs – 1 to 16 acres and 16 to 50 acres. He said that the Sindh Bank has designed an E-card and has furnished a list of designated branches for giving subsidies. He proposed to name the E-card as` Peoples Hari Card’ which the cabinet approved.
NAB to be asked to allow wheat releases: The Minister Food dept Mukesh Kumar Chawla told the cabinet that 33,917.41 tones of the wheat were lying in godowns of Naushehroferoze and Kashmore where the concerned food dept officers had stored the grain without approval of the department. Therefore, NAB has sealed the godowns and is not allowing lifting of the wheat.
Mr Chawla said that if the wheat was not lifted the grain would be infested with weevil. The cabinet authorized the minister of food to talk to the NAB and get the grain released.
MOU for KMC Taxes: The cabinet on the request of the local government allowed the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) to sign an MOU with the K-electric for collection of Conservancy and Fires Taxes through electricity bills. Administrator KMC Murtaza Wahab briefed the cabinet about the proposed collection of the taxes and said their rates would be reduced so that minimum burden could be imposed on the citizens. He added that his objective was to strengthen the KMC financially.
Sister cities: The cabinet was told that to commemorate the commemoration of 70th Anniversary of Pak-China diplomatic relations the Sindh government has decided to declare Sister-province relationship between Sindh and Hubei province of China.
The cabinet approved Sister-City relationship between Karachi and Shenyang, Tianjin and Chongqing municipalities. Sister-city relationship between Badin and Sukkur with Kunming and Sister-relationship between Thatta and Zhanjiang. The cabinet approved the development of Khan Chowrangi, Clifton as Pak-China friendship square.
Fisheries Rules Amended: The cabinet approved amendment in Rule-4 of the Fisheries Rules 1983 to increase time for validity of fishing license from one year to three years. The cabinet approved an amendment in Education City Act 2013 to appoint Chairman Higher Education Commission Sindh as chairman education City Board in place of the chief minister who could not hold education city’s board meetings due to his busy schedule.