PRIME Minister Gilanis worry about the energy situation shows that at long last his government has realized the seriousness of the crisis in contrast to its virtual lack of interest during the past two years. However, this would not have happened had it not received the strong criticism by Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif. Shocked by the countrys recession into the dark ages, he rightly cautioned the federal government to take positive action before it was too late. There should be little doubt that it was his efforts that resulted in the energy conference in Islamabad where the Prime Minister announced a road map to control loadshedding. The government is showing signs that it is serious in turning the power roadmap into a reality. Addressing the provincial Chief Ministers, Mr Gilani seemed satisfied at the fact that the energy conservation plan was going in the right direction. But he also expressed his concern that certain sections within the traders community were defying the 8 pm deadline. There is no mistaking the merchants argument that the ban on commercial activity shortly after sunset has a negative impact on their business, yet given the horrific proportions of the energy crunch, it is incumbent upon them to lend the government a helping hand. The shopkeepers can start business early in the morning and so the time lag can be covered. The supply and demand gap would have decreased as the Prime Minister is claiming, but in reality it has gotten only a little bit less intense and most parts of the country are still reeling under acute shortage. The wheel jam strike in Balochistan against persistent outages is a case in point. Besides, our industry and agriculture, the lifeline of the economy, now seem to be on the edge. A special mechanism that can ensure the supply of electricity to both these sectors must be worked out. On the other hand, it is the need of the hour to enhance generation capacity by making use of the resources that are available in abundance. And it is time we made full use of the hydel resource and started building the required infrastructure along the rivers. This is cheaper and cleaner than most other sources. Once a unit is installed it keeps on producing energy round the clock merely through water flow unlike thermal sources, which consumes furnace oil. We must draw the right lessons from how countries like Egypt and China have made use of hydel resources. Therefore, if the government really means business, it must start building the reservoirs both small and large including Kalabagh dam.