It was 2006 when I bought my first UPS. It was a basic model 700 VA thingy with a 12 V, 100 AHC battery attached to it. It was good enough contraption to power my small house with three bulbs and a fan. That was the time load-shedding had reared its ugly head. I needed the power to put my small family at ease during those long hours of darkness. This happened in Kashmir. Then things became worse in 2008 when I moved to Lahore. There was eight to twelve hours of unannounced load shedding in the provincial capital, in those days. No UPS could work in such circumstances as the darned devices need electricity to charge the battery first and then use that juice. I couldn’t afford a generator and so a solution had to be found. It came in the shape of Hyperstar at Fortress Lahore, where I would go along with my family to kill those long hours of boredom. Off course one couldn’t go there daily, but we did go there at least two days a week as the place was centrally air conditioned backed by huge generators.
Sometime back I blogged about Karadeniz Powership which had set sail for Pakistani shores. Now it has reached Pakistan and is docked at Karachi. To the common man this might sound as a great relief, but actually it is just another way of fleecing the already over-burdened people of Pakistan by the incompetent Government. Well it is actually a spillover of incompetence of the previous Governments, but this one is no different, in fact it is worse. ( Shoot, I have started rambling again )
The statistics say this power solution by the Awami or People’s Government is by far the most expensive. According to PEPCO, Karkey Karadeniz Electrik Uretim of Turkey signed the deal for providing Electricity to our beloved country for 5.98 cents per unit, but that was May 2009. Now it is November 2010, and almost 2011. Add in the current price of furnace oil, the corruption included in the whole process, and the figure shoots over to 18 cents per unit. Ask a 3rd grade student to do the math and he/she will tell you it comes to around Rs. 15.66 , actually Rs. 6.29 higher then the current average price per unit!
Only a People’s Government can think of such solutions, because the people get to pay the money, the Government collects the money, pays to the M/S Karadeniz and pockets some of it, thereby introducing another acute spate of circular debt. The agreement is valid for six years and it doesn’t take a genius’s IQ to figure out what the fuel costs will be in another six years, well simply they will skyrocket. But that will not affect us, because we have enough water to build dams on, enough coal reserves to be declared the biggest on Earth, enough Wind corridors and Sun belts. Only if we can agree on building the darned Kalabagh Dam, putting a coal fired power plant on Thar coal or making use of ample sunshine or wind. But the question is, “who will bell the cat?”
SOS for Pakistan – The KAYABEY Power Ship
Pakistan is facing the worst ever electricity crisis in its history. Thanks to years of mismanagement, shortsightedness and corruption; a country bestowed with rivers, enough wind to generate 50,000 MW and a Solar belt that can also generate an additional thousands of Mega Watts of electricity, not to mention the world’s biggest coal reserves. The city of Karachi, the industrial hub of Pakistan and a city which generates almost 65 % of the country’s revenue was the worst hit. Karachiites suffered, and are still experiencing up to 12 hours of load shedding. Now a Turkish Power Ship, perhaps the only of its kind has set sail from Istanbul to Karachi which will give the city a relief of some 230 MW. This agreement has been signed for a period of 60 months, or 5 years. This may sound as good news, but the point to note here is that this is again a short term solution, it will run on fossil fuel and it is not going to be cheap, not at all.
Our daily newspapers carried this story along with a photograph of the ship which words like “ To end the power problems of Pakistani brothers and sisters”. Well, I have no qualms at admitting that I wept on seeing this picture. Not because it carried an emotional message, but because despite being bestowed with so much we are still waiting for God knows who to help us and alleviate our problems. That perhaps is the most painful thing. The leadership will never understand this, there are suffering from acute shortsightedness I guess.
Today is the 16th of Oct 2010, it is Saturday, day off for me. The morning paper carries a photograph of Karachi’s slum area “Khuda Ki Basti”. The photograph itself is self explanatory. It shows a web of illegal electricity connections from a WAPDA pole. One could rave and rant about this thing, but why waste time. Just the picture is posted below for everyone to see. But on the contrary let me say a few words: This explains for the non-availability of electricity, this explains for its high cost and above all this explains the rampant corruption in our society. The question is, if such pictures appear in newspapers, does anyone actually take notice? I mean the people who are supposed to be controlling all this? I guess not. How true it is when they say, “The fish rots from the head.”