THERE is no doubt that Pakistan is facing an energy crisis of proportions and that there is an urgent need to deal with it. But there is also no doubt that Pakistan is facing an environmental crisis already and nothing should be done that is deepening this crisis. Despite all this the current government is disregarding these necessities and is going ahead with two projects with Chinese help that are supposed to tackle the energy crisis: one is the import of nuclear power stations from China and the other is the plan to develop coal-basedenergy production with Chinese technology. Both projects are environmentally hazardous and outdated.
While the whole world has been replacing their coal- based energy production because of the air and other pollution connected to the process and China itself is suffering from smoke in its cities making breathing almost impossible due to air pollution now Pakistan decides to buy that technology and start polluting our air that already is far from clean. The next and may be even more hazardous thing is reliance on nuclear power when the rest of the world is rethinking that in the aftermath of the recent Japanese nuclear catastrophe and the one in Chernobyl in the eighties.
There are so many other possibilities to deal with the energy crisis in Pakistan. The first that comes to mind is the improvement of transmission lines and thus the minimization of energylosses in transmission. Our present T & D losses have reached up to 30 to 35%, whereas it could be contained under 10% by efficient management as it used to be till 1970s.
Then there is the much cheaper and safer generation of power through available water resources, hydel power generation. Studies reveal that till 1980 we were using only 28% of our available water resource, rest was all going waste into the Indian Ocean. Tarbela Dam once claimed to be the world’s largest earth filled dam was compromised. No enquiry report ever came to light fixing responsibility against the culprits responsible for Tarbela mishap, that was used to establish combined cycle thermal power station.
Kalabagh Dam was politicised during Ziaul Haq regime, a project that was considered essential for the nation and the country, and wind power projects that could be well done in parts of Pakistan were also neglected. Solar energy is yet another source available in abundance, if our rulers were little serious in resolving energy crises. Our private entrepreneurs have installed diesel generators to cater for their needs at homes, industry and even big shopping malls, we could announce incentive scheme for private investors to install Solar panels at their roof tops and use free energy while surplus could be purchased by power distribution companies as was done in Germany to tackle such a problem. But unfortunately Pakistan has become a land of the pure where no chance is missed from where rulers can fill their personal pockets at the cost of country and nation.
One case came to my notice when I was in UK during August 2014, where I met a group who are doing well in solar power projects in Africa and India, that they have already applied forpermission to start work on their self financed on BOT terms Chakwal Solar power project that is going to cost US $ 750 million to generate 100 MW electricity to national power grid. But greed of those in high echelon of power came in their way. Now imagine any foreigner who will inject his own finances when asked to grease the palms of officials will feel offended when he is confronted with a plunderers’ group who believe in eating the cake without any effort but in the name of democracy and false mandate to fool the nation by acting like a proverbial monkey.
My these friends asked me to help them in getting required permission without greasing palms of these plunderers if national interest is at all dear to us, I had promised to make an effort but on my return dharna fever ruled supreme in Islamabad. I shudder to imagine the outcome of our present adventure that might doom us all for not being little serious in our national requirements. And then there is the need to educate the population in power saving and to replace power intensive gadgets with power saving ones especially in the industrial sector. So nuclear and coal-based energy are the worst options, that have been chosen by our rulers – either because of negligence or because of greed for getting kickbacks when buying outdated technology. We should not allow them to play with our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren for a few more billions here and there. We must inculcate little fear of Allah Almighty. God bless Pakistan & humanity.