The federal and provincial governments must adopt an immediate holistic relocation program to safeguard rural populations impacted by power plants, including protections for complementary farming and grazing lands, water rights, and aboriginal culture and subsistence traditions.
A press Conference was organized by Alliance for Climate Justice and Clean Energy (ACJCE), on 23rd April, 2021 to share thoughts, analysis, concerns and demands regarding recent policy-based plans, with a particular reference to Integrated Generation Capacity Enhancement Plan-2047 (IGCEP-2047) and Competitive Trading Bilateral Contract Market (CTBCM).
The IGCEP-2047 is a long-term plan to enhance electricity generation capacity based on forecasts of growing power demand till 2047 while CTBCM is a plan to set off operations of wholesale competitive electricity market in April 2022.
Panelist, Muhammad Ali Shah, Chairperson, Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) shared his opinion and serious concerns about this document. He comprehensively analyzed the ground situation in Thar and Thari people. According to M. Ali Shah, Coal powers projects will displace and disturb the lives of 1.15 lac people in Thar. Emissions and dumping of waste from this mining is already poisoning the local environment and bio diversity. Social and economic situation of people will become worse as they are already facing this problem.
Others panelists include; Zain Moulvi serving as Legal and Policy Analyst at Alternative Law Collective (ALC) and Haneea Isaad who is Research Associate at Rural Development Policy Institute (RDPI).
These panelists were also concerned about reforms and policy measures taken by the government without any serious attentions towards hazards and problems faced by the locals.
The panelists demand Government and concerned authorities to ensure that consumer interests, be they economic or related to public health, are kept at the heart of policy and decision making in Pakistan. For power planning this could mean working out the impact of any policy on consumer end tariffs and sharing it with the public for comment and feedback.
Environmental externalities such as GHG emissions, water consumption and health impacts induced by fossil-fuel based power sources like coal should be taken into account while conducting economic feasibility analyses. Because these are ignored in the recent documents by the policy makers.
Renewable energy projects should be introduced so that their share in the total energy output reach to 40%. Furthermore, to review shortcomings in the planning and regulatory processes, an investigation committee must be established.
Renewable energy purchase obligations, in which electricity purchasers are legally required to buy a certain amount of RE-based fuel in their overall energy transactions, should be integrated into the CTBCM mechanism in accordance with the ARE-2019 goals.
A platform for unions and consumer cooperatives should be established for impacted areas.
Provincial environmental authorities should conduct an immediate review of our environmental regulations and monitoring procedures, as well as an environmental assessment of all proposed coal and fossil fuel-based power plants. Similarly, NEPRA shall review the licenses of all fuel-based generation firms to ensure that their operating operations comply with international environmental requirements.