LAHORE - The Punjab Forum on Sunday said load shedding has intensified in Punjab after the second Energy Conference which is taking toll on masses, industry, trade and agriculture.

The claims of President Asif Ali Zardari during his recent stay in Lahore once again proved contradictory leaving both the high profile event meaningless, it said.

The Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif also seems uneasy for hosting a useless energy conference which only helped drain resources, said Baig Raj, President of the Punjab Forum. He said that the energy meet was a move to stop long march, now rulers have started pushing issue of Seraiki province to divert attention of masses from their failures.

After American opposition to the energy import plans from Iran, some friendly countries have also started pressing Pakistan to abandon all such plans, said Baig Raj.

He informed that Tarbela is at dead level pushing power shortfall to 4000MW as power general through hydel, thermal and IPPs stands at 10219MW which is hurting Punjab the most.

Current government lack resources and will to bridge the demand-supply gap therefore immediate import of energy should be ensured from India, he said.

Baig Raj said that Indian team is in Islamabad to finalise an energy deal but commission mafia is hampering the development.

India is ready to provide power for Rs 13 per unit but some political elements are asking them to jack up price to Rs 15/unit so that they can make good money by bagging Rs 2 per unit. He said that India has discovered gas reserves which are going waste due to lack of pipeline infrastructure in that country.

New Delhi wants to provide gas to Pakistan on throwaway prices but the same mafia has become a stumbling block in making the move a reality, he lamented.

Similarly, the plan to dishearten investors to launch power projects in Punjab continues while sugar mills that can generate 2000MW to reduce half of the shortfall are being discouraged which is a great disservice to country, he observed.

Pakistan needs 215 million dollars to overhaul public sector thermal power plants to generate extra 2000MW while extension of Guddu power plant can add 747 MW but no step in this direction is likely.

Likewise, wind power projects will continue to take a back seat whose tariff will decrease by the passage of time instead of increasing as per the agreements.

Pakistan has two options, accept Indian dominance and transform country into a consumer society or import energy from India to give new lease of life to the crumbling economy, he said.