KWSB warns Steel Mills to clear Rs196m dues

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Karachi : After the power utility, the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) also warned the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) on Thursday to clear its outstanding dues or else its water supply and sewerage facility would be disconnected.


In a statement issued here, the KWSB’s Revenue Department said that the PSM owes Rs 196.63 million in outstanding dues to the Water Board.


“The PSM has been defaulting since September 2011 and the actual amount had accumulated to Rs 332.67 million till June 2013, however, the PSM recently paid Rs 111.20 million to the water utility,” it said.


It said that the officials concerned of the revenue department were in contact with the PSM for the early recovery of dues from the latter, adding: “The KWSB is passing through financial crisis and that is why they are focusing on recovering dues for the betterment of the water utility”.It warned that in case the PSM fails to clear outstanding dues then the KWSB would be left with no option but to disconnect water supply and sewerage facility of the PSM.


The Water Board also warned the other defaulting government institutions to clear their dues or else their water supply would be disconnected. It, however, added that permission from higher officials would be required in this regard.


According to the KWSB, Karachi Municipal Corporation owes Rs 700 million to the water utility, Public Health Department owes Rs550 million, Pakistan Works Department, Rs498 million; Education Department, Rs245.8 million; Provincial Buildings (PWS), Rs90.27 million; Pakistan Railways, Rs150.54 million; Printing Corporation of Pakistan, Rs14.50 million; Faisal Cantonment Board, Rs26.8 million; Korangi Cantonment Board, Rs13.7 million; Malir Cantonment, Rs100 million; Clifton Cantonment Board, Rs80 million; Machine Tool Factory, Rs11 million; Hockey Club Stadium, Rs21 million; District Jail Malir, Rs100 million; and SITE Limited owes Rs65 million to the Water Board.


The KWSB hoped that all these government institutions would help the water utility in the time of crisis by timely clearing their outstanding bills.


Earlier, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) termed the disconnection of electricity supply to PSM a conspiracy to privatise the national institution.


In a statement issued on Thursday, Taj Haider strongly criticised the power cut at steel mills pointing out that almost all processes at the factory were continuous, whose start-up time could take two to three days.


“Cutting off power of Pakistan Steel Mills is part of a larger conspiracy for privatising the institution built by Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,” the PPP Sindh general secretary said. “The PPP will resist the privatisation of this key national project by all means.”


Disconnection of power at the mill has resulted in high losses since the processes have been stopped in the middle and the raw material has been wasted. Heavy costs will be incurred in restarting the processes.


Haider reminded that the steel mill had its own 160MW gas-based power plant, which besides meeting its own electricity requirements had also been selling power to the KESC also.


But cutting off gas supply to the mill, in violation of Article 158 of the constitution which gives the priority of use to the province where well-heads are located, has resulted in the closure of the PSM power plant. The mill has had to buy electricity from KESC.


Haider demanded the immediate restoration of supply of electricity and the gas needed to restore the mill’s power plant.


Power restored


The KESC restored power supply to the PSM Township after receiving a cheque of Rs 250 million from the PSM management.


“In continuation to progressive development the KESC has reconnected the power supply to PSM township residential area. However, the power supply for the Pakistan Steel Mills will remain disconnected till further development from the PSM,” a spokesman of the power utility said.


The KESC had disconnected electricity supply to the PSM and its residential areas on Wednesday for the non-payment of bills. The power utility claimed that the PSM was a defaulter of Rs 930 million.


The managements of both the PSM and the KESC met on Thursday to settle the matter but eventually the meeting ended up without any result. Later, another round of meeting was held in which the KESC accepted a cheque offered by the PSM and subsequently power supply to the township was restored.


The PSM had initially offered Rs 20 million which was refused by the KESC and later the PSM proposed to pay Rs 100 million but the amount was too little to impress the power utility officials.


Meanwhile, the PSM denied that it accepted the KESC proposals regarding the mode of payment. The PSM management says that this situation was created owing to delay in the release of funds under the bailout package.

Courtesy:   The News

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