KARACHI - Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah on Thursday admitted that country was facing electricity crisis and said the government was striving hard to overcome power outages, which was causing prolonged power outages. He was responding to a point of order raised by a MQM legislator on the floor of Sindh Assembly in which he (legislator) had complained that the people of Karachi were facing longest ever 18-hour power breakdown. Qaim said that since Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) was privatised during the previous regime, the incumbent government was bearing the mistake committed in the past. We do not even know on what terms and conditions the KESC was privatised. Now it is the responsibility of the government to help the people out of their miseries caused by power outages, he added. He pointed out that people in the interior of Sindh were facing longer power outages but they did not make noise. He said that President Asif Ali Zardari, during his recent visit to Karachi, took serious notice of power crisis and had warned the KESC administration to make investment in power generation agreed at the time of privatisation. Qaim said the total electricity consumption of the metropolis stood at 2,400MW but the utility was facing the shortfall of 500MW for which the government had made arrangement from Wapda but the KESC had failed to pay for the electricity taken from Wapda. He informed the House that last night he had made phone call to the MD KESC twice who was still sitting in his office. The MD informed the chief minister that due to thunderstorm, the supply system of Wapda had collapsed at Jamshoro as a result the Bin Qasim power plant from where the KESC gets electricity stopped functioning. Subsequently the Hub power plant also tripped which aggravated the situation further, he added. He said that it was a huge power breakdown as the people of Hyderabad were also facing power outages since last night. Tracing the past, he said that keeping in view the future electricity demands of the country, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto had envisaged for 8,000-megawatt power project that had to be set up in Kety Bandar, which was to generate 3,000 megawatt in first phase in three years, but the project did not materialise. Qaim said that he had asked Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the then Minister for Water and Power that why they had scrapped the Kety Bandar power project, which benefited the country billions of rupees. Upon which, Chaudhry Nisar replied that country had enough electricity and that Rs4 per unit that was agreed with the PPP government was expensive. Similarly the KESC was privatised during the previous government but the incumbent government was being held responsible for power shortages. Industrial sector was the worst affected due to loadshedding and the government is trying to cope with the situation, he added. He said the KESC administration had promised with President Asif Ali Zardari that they would rectify the situation in one month. The President in the presence of federal minister for water and power had said that if the utility failed to enhance its generation capacity in one month, government would take back the control of KESC no matter what losses the government will suffer. He said that the one-month period was yet to be over. After the CMs speech, MQM legislator Syed Raza Haider moved a motion, which says, this assembly resolves that the frequent power failure especially on June 17 and 18 in Sindh may kindly be referred to Standing Committee on Irrigation and Power to probe into the cause of power failure. The house which was set in motion with Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro in the Chair at about 11:15am resumed general discussion on provincial budget. Initiating debate, PPP member Dr Sikandar Ali Mahendaro said that the oil and gas companies working in Sindh were not giving production bonus for the last 40 years which came to billions of rupees at the rate of Rs1.5 billion per annum. He said that Sindh was bestowed with natural resources and exhorted the need for properly utilization of these resources. Dr Mahendaro painted a gloomy picture of health and education and underlined the need for focusing on social sector. He said that government had spent million of rupees for the purchase of medicine but the people instead of getting Patti (bandage) got Parchi (paper slip) from the hospital. Dissecting the budget, opposition member PML-Q, Sheharyar Mehar, criticised the government over its shortcomings. But at the same time, he appreciated some steps taking by the government in the budget. The session was adjourned till Friday morning.