Biogas plants to meet fuel, energy shortage

Focus on biogas plants

Over 4,000 biogas plants were installed between 1974 and 1987. But with the withdrawal of official financial support, the pace was slowed down and since then only 6,000 plants were installed till 2006. – File photo

To meet the domestic fuel and bio-fertiliser needs, 3,680 biogas plants are planned to be set up in rural areas by June 2012, according to Pakistan Centre for Renewable Technologies.

The Centre says that over 2,100 family-size biogas plants — against the target of 2,500 — have already been set up throughout the country.

The programme, supported by NGOs, farmers’ bodies and the rural support programme netwok, is being implemented by Pakistan Biogas Development Enterprise.

The construction of 30,000 biogas installations planned for next four years will be funded by the four provinces including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with an investment of Rs2.7 billion. A sum of Rs244 million will be disbursed as investment rebate support to households.

Often animal waste is usually not used productively. In Landhi alone, a suburb of Karachi city, around 0.35 million cattle heads are kept in a three kilometre area that produces thousands of tons of waste but 80-90 per cent of it is thrown into the sea. A Canadian firm Highmark Renewables and the KESC jointly intend to set up a biogas plant at a cost of around $70 million which would produce 30 megawatts of electricity besides 400 tons of residue bio-fertiliser.

The biogas plants will considerably decrease the domestic fuel cost. Moreover, biogas will contribute towards environment protection, sustenance of ecosystem and conservation of biodiversity.

According to PCRT gas produced in a small bio-digester which contains about 20 kg dung should be enough to meet the fuel needs of a small family. A bio-digester for any number of animals can be designed. However, the plant must be water/gas-tight and enough manure and water should be added to it every day.

Biogas plants are fairly popular worldwide. There are almost two million biogas plants in India and the facilities have been built even in the United Kingdom and the US through official patronage. Around 89 such plants in the US are consuming 13 per cent or 95,000 tons of waste to produce about 25,000 megawatt of electricity that is sufficient for 2.3 million households.’

There is a huge potential for production of biogas in the country. There are currently around 47 million big animals in Pakistan. Even if 50 per cent of their drop is collected, availability of fresh dung comes to 233 million kg a day that can produce around 12 million cubic meters of biogas per day. The fuel requirement of over 20 per cent of the population could be met only from biogas. It will also produce 19 million tons of bio-fertiliser per year.

Around 70 per cent of population in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa lives in rural areas. Most farmers have two or more cattle head whose dung mixed with an equal quantity of water can be used to produce biogas. Any farmer having at least three animals can set up this plant with a one-time investment of Rs40,000 —50,000.

If individual farmers cannot afford the cost, a few families with domestic animals could jointly install such a plant in their neighbourhood. And by selling the gas to families that do not contribute manure for having no animals, the maintenance expenditure, if any, could be financed with this money.

Over 4,000 biogas plants were installed between 1974 and 1987. But with the withdrawal of official financial support, the pace was slowed down and since then only 6,000 plants were installed till 2006. Firewood, dung and crop residues are major sources of energy for rural and low-income urban households. In 1992, firewood provided fuel to about 60 per cent such households followed by dung in dry form at around 18 per cent. To save deforestation, biogas gas is a viable alternative.

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After a few mistakes were spotted in the above printed version of the article, the original text of the article is hereby reproduced.

Biogas plants to reduce deforestation and domestic fuel budget

By Tahir Ali

Under the project “development and promotion of biogas technology for meeting domestic fuel needs of rural areas and production of bio-fertilizer”, the Pakistan centre for renewable energy technologies (Pcret) plans to install 368 biogas plants in rural areas by June 2012.

Launched in 2008 with a target of 2500 such plants, Pcret has already installed over 2100 family size biogas plants in different parts of the country.

Earlier, based on a feasibility study, a programme implementation plan for domestic biogas of Pakistan was finalised with the support of rural support programmes network, NGOs and farmers organisations and is implemented by Pakistan biogas development enterprise. Though it, the construction of 30,000 biogas installations in 4 years will be supported in four provinces including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with a total investment of Rs2.7bn. Rs244mn would be disbursed as investment rebate support to the households who spend on the technology.

However, the potential is too enormous to be satisfied with this number. Animal waste is usually wasted (see picture). In Landhi Karachi alone, around 0.35mn cattle-heads are kept in a 3km area that produce thousands of tons of waste but 80-90 of it is thrown in the sea. A Canadian firm Highmark Renewables with the help of KESC plans to establish world’s biggest biogas plant at a cost of around $70 million that would produce up to 30 mega watt of power and 400 tons of residue bio fertiliser.

With inflation and energy shortage and costliness aggravating with each passing day in the country, biogas plants could considerably decrease the domestic fuel budget and lessen burden on national power grid. Moreover, biogas will also contribute towards environment protection, sustenance of ecosystem and conservation of biodiversity.

According to a Pcret report, a family size biogas plant annually 10056Kg wood or 22200 Kg animal dung or 1104 lit kerosene oil or 540 kg L.P.G or 9000 Kwh of electricity.

Gas produced in a small bio-digester which contains about 20 kg of dung should be enough to meet the fuel requirement of a small family. Based on these calculations, a bio-digester for any number of animals can be designed.  However, the plant must be water/gas-tight. Enough manure and water must be added to it every day.

Biogas plants are fairly popular in Pakistan’s neighbourhood and even developed countries. There are almost two million bio-gas plants in India and the facilities have been built even in UK and USA through official patronage. Around 89 such plants in the US are consuming 13 per cent or 95000 tons of waste to produce about 2500 mega watt of electricity that suffices for 2.3mn households.’

Despite its simplicity and huge potential, the production of biogas has not been given due attention in Pakistan. There are currently around 47 million big animals in Pakistan. A medium size animal drops around 10 kg of dung per day. Even if its 50 percent is collected, the availability of fresh dung comes to 233 million kg a day that can produce around 12 million cubic meters of biogas a day. Since 0.4m gas could suffice the cooking needs of a million Pakistanis, the fuel requirement of over 20 percent of them could be met only from biogas. It will also produce 19 million tons of bio-fertilizer per year, which can boost agricultural productivity.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa too, despite having one million camels, 6mn cattle, 2mn buffaloes and over 12mn sheep and goats, has failed to utilise the waste of these animals to produce biogas which can be used for cooking and power generation and its residue could be used as fertiliser and which has the potential to reduce both the fuel bill and deforestation in the country.

In the cattle breeding and dairy farm in Charsadda, a bio gas plant has been in operation but the innovative technology has not been disseminated on mass scale in the province.

It seems strange as to why to reduce the speed and scale of deforestation especially in the forest-rich Malakand and Hazara divisions, biogas plants have not been installed or the attention of the locals not drawn towards this enormously fruitful and cheap source of energy so far.

Around 70 percent population in the province lives in the rural areas. Most farmers have two or more cattle whose dung mixed with an equal proportion of water can be used to produce biogas. Any farmer having at least three animals can establish this plant with a one-time investment of Rs40,000 to 50,000.

If individual farmers are not ready or cannot afford the expenses, a few families with domestic animals could jointly install such a plant in their neighbourhood. And by selling the gas to families that cannot contribute manure daily for having no animals, the maintenance expenditure, if any, could be financed with this money.

The government needs to announce more attention and funds to spread this technology to countryside. Media should create awareness among the rural community and NGOs and foreign investors should be encouraged to spread it.

Over 4000 biogas plants were installed in Pakistan by the government between 1974 and 1987. But later it withdrew the financial support which reduced the growth rate of this technology and only 6,000 plants were installed till 2006 since then.

A typical biogas plant consists of a digester where the anaerobic fermentation takes place, a gasholder for collecting the biogas, the input-output units for feeding the influent and storing the effluent respectively, and a gas distribution system.

Firewood, dung and crop residues are major sources of energy for rural and low-income urban households. In 1992, firewood provided fuel to at about 60% of rural and low income families followed by dung in dry form at around 18%.

Only 4% of Pakistan’s total area is covered by forest with only 5% area protected. To control reforestation adoption of biogas is a best technology in Pakistan.

 

 

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review of Eralp

Map showing the location of Swat District (hig...

Swat where Eralp is being implemented

Lag in agriculture recovery
By Tahir Ali

BECAUSE of slow utilisation of funds, the Rs800 million project for early recovery of agriculture and livestock in Swat and Upper Dir has been extended for another year up to March 2012.To utilise the rest of the Rs500 million fund and to extend the project to the Malakand division, the provincial Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Settlement Authority (Parrsa) has committed another Rs200 million.

The project has received a mixed response from officials and farmers. While the project director Sanaullah Khan and some farmers from Swat were all praise for it, others criticised the alleged favouritism in choosing target areas and distribution of agricultural inputs etc. The project is financed by Italian government.

Mr Khan said: “Restoration and enhancement of agriculture and livestock in the area, formation and revival of the 127 male and 24 female organisations in villages, community empowerment, establishment of linkage between communities and government/service providers are the achievements of Eralp. Besides, capacity building of stake holders and development of private nurseries, fish farming and diversification of livelihood options are some of the notable achievements of the project so far,” he said.

“Swat farmers harvest wheat crops during July. According to a survey in 27 of the 32 UCs in the area, per hectare yield has jumped by 266 per cent to four tons per hectare from 1.5 tons/ha in 2009. Quality inputs were provided to farmers in appropriate quantities at proper time besides provision of technical guidance,” he said.

The Eralp during last year distributed 63 tons of maize, 24 tons of peas, 235 tons of wheat, 640 tons of onion and around 10 tons of pulses seeds along with fertiliser among growers. Another 51 tons of DAP and 436 tons of urea were also provided to them. About 0.296mn plants out of the target of 0.4mn were distributed to establish new orchards. And 10 poultry farms were set up and around 5,500 poultry units were provided to poor households in 32 union councils of Charbagh, Kabal, Khwazakhela and Matta tehsils of Swat and Dokdarra UC in Upper Dir.

In the livestock sector, against the 13,000 animal vaccination target, 48,000 were vaccinated. In the forestry sector, the target of 2.1 million plants reforestation has been crossed. Top working on 0.1mn olive trees against the target of 0.2mn was done. Block tree plantation has been done at 2,200 hectares against the target of 1,500 hectares.

About 25 farmers’ field schools are being constructed and 156 agriculture and 177 livestock extension workers were trained.

Out of a plantation target of 7,305 hectares in Swat, 5450 hectares have been achieved. Work on four trout fish farms worth Rs1.92mn has been completed or is in progress. On seven spurs work is complete and on others it is under progress. Work on 60 water channels worth Rs58.35mn is either completed, or is awaiting approval, it adds.

In the next phase, 10,000 hand compression sprayers and 500 power sprayers would be provided to farmers. Similarly, 10 biogas plants would be installed and 20 private fish farms opened in the area.

Khan claimed that short duration of the project, 2010 floods, insufficient availability of certified seeds, and restricted
movement of project staff were some of snags in the implementation of the project.

Abdul Jabbar Khan, president of association for protection of farmers and tillers’ rights district Swat, said farmers in the area had been devastated by militancy and floods and therefore needed support. “But what the Eralp offered was peanuts,” he says.

“Most of the work was done on the basis of nepotism and favouritism. For example out of 13 UCs in Matta, work was done only in two UCs -Sambhat and Arkuk- while the other areas stood totally neglected,” he adds.

As to allegations of nepotism and favouritism, Mr Sanaullah rejected them and said uniformity of coverage had been ensured in the project area.

Mr Jabbar rejected the project’s figures for wheat and said floods, non-availability and cost of inputs had in fact decreased wheat yield in the area.

“There is a need to establish genuine VOs and to allocate more money for reconstruction of the destroyed agriculture, irrigation and communication infrastructure and rehabilitation of farmers,” said Sahib Zaman, another farmer from Matta
Swat.

The upper Swat areas like Kalam, Uthror etc and other districts in Malakand division have been totally neglected. It seems some easily accessible areas have been focused at the cost of others. Sanaullah said that Eralp was working in the predefined
area as agreed with the donors at the designing stage.

“The Upper Swat area and other districts of Malakand Division were out of the project’s sphere that is why there were no project activities there. But if the donors/government provided us the requisite funds, the project could be extended.

Happily, the promised Rs200million would be utilised for the purpose,” an official said.

””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””’

Here is the original text of the article as it was sent to the paper.

Analysis of one year working of Eralp

By Tahir Ali

On the back of low utilisation of funds during the stipulated time and in realisation of its positive impact upon lives of farmers, the Rs800 million Italian government funded early recovery of agriculture and livestock project (Eralp) being implemented in of Swat by the provincial rehabilitation, reconstruction and settlement authority (PaRRSA) has been extended for another year and the project amount is being increased.

To spend the remaining Rs500mn project money and considering its progress, Eralp that was to finish by March this year, has been granted one year extension till March 2012 and PaRRSA has committed Rs200mn to spread its coverage to the entire Malakand division, sources said.

For the first year of Eralp, officials and farmers in the area have different claims on its effectiveness. While Sanaullah Khan, the project director, and Tariq Khan and Sher Bahadur, farmers from Swat, were all praise for the project, other farmers were critical of alleged nepotism and favouritism in the process of determination of target areas and the distribution of agricultural inputs and other benefits under the project.

Mr Khan said: “Restoration and enhancement of agriculture and livestock in the area, formation/revival of the 127 village male and 24 women organizations in the area, community empowerment, establishment of linkage between communities and government/service providers, capacity building of the stake holders, sense of ownership, accountability and transparency, environmental development through block community plantation/soil conservation and development of private nurseries, fish farming and diversification of livelihood options are some of the notable Eralp achievements thus far,” he said.

“Swat farmers harvest their wheat crops during July. According to a survey in 27 off 32 UCs in the area, per hectare yield has jumped by 266 per cent to 4 tons/ha from 1.5 tons/ha in 2009. This was inevitable as quality inputs were provided to farmers in appropriate quantities at proper time besides provision of technical guidance,” he stressed.

Official brief on the performance of Eralp during last year, says 63 tons of maize, 24 tons of peas, 235 tons of wheat, 640 tons of onion and around 10 tons of pulses seeds were distributed along with fertilizer. Separately, another 51 tons of DAP and 436 tons of urea were also provided to farmers. About 0.296mn plants out of the target of 0.4mn were also distributed to establish new orchards. And 10 poultry farms were established and around 5500 poultry units of chicks were provided to poor households in 32 union councils of Charbagh, Kabal, Khwazakhela and Matta tehsils of Swat and Dokdarra UC in Upper Dir.

In the livestock sector, against the 13000 animal vaccination target, 48000 were vaccinated. In the forestry sector, the target of 2.1 million plants reforestation has been crossed. Top working on 0.1mn olive trees against the target of 0.2mn was done. Block tree plantation has been done at 2200 hectares against the target of 1500 hectares.

25 farmers’ field schools are being constructed and 156 agriculture and 177 livestock extension workers were trained. 3 out of 20 private fish farms have been established and support to 2 fish farms out of 4 has been provided.

In the next phase, 10,000 hand compression sprayers and 500 power sprayers would be provided to farmers. Similarly, 10 biogas plants would be installed and 20 private fish farms opened in the area. And animal feed of around 3000 tons and over 40,000 molasses blocks would also be distributed, the documents reads.

“Out of a Swat plantation target of 7305 hectares, 5450 has been achieved. Work on 4 trout fish farms worth Rs1.92mn has been completed or is in progress. And work on 7 spurs has been completed, is in progress on 4 and on 16 the sanction is awaited. Again, work on 60 water channels worth Rs58.35mn is either completed, in progress or awaiting nod, it adds.

Khan agreed that short duration of the project, 2010 floods, insufficient availability of certified seeds, and restricted movement of project staff were some of the problems of the project.

Abdul Jabbar Khan, president of association for protection of farmers and tillers’ rights district Swat, said farmers in the area had been devastated by militancy and floods and therefore needed support.

“But what the Eralp offered was peanuts. What impact could the delivery of a package comprising two/three bags of fertiliser, 50 kg of seed and some other items to a small number of farmers have on the recovery of agriculture in the area which has hundreds of thousands of growers,” he says.

“But even these inputs were also not given to genuine farmers as no real farmers or village organisations were formed. My area still has none. Most of the work was done on the basis of nepotism and favouritism only in two UCs -Sambhat and Arkuk- off 13 UCs in Matta and other areas stand totally neglected,” he adds.

Mr Jabbar rejected the project’s figures for wheat and said floods and non availability and costliness of inputs had in fact decreased wheat yield in the areas.

Mr Sanaullah said Eralp adhered to its claim of increased outputs: “Since the project approach is participatory, these activities can be cross-checked with the 151 VOs/WOs as these VOs along with government line departments are partners in the project”.

“There is a need to establish genuine VOs and to allocate more money for reconstruction of the destroyed agriculture, irrigation and communication infrastructure and rehabilitation of farmers,” said Sahib Zaman, another farmer from Matta Swat.

As to allegations of nepotism and favouritism, Mr Sanaullah rejected them as baseless and said that decision on appointments, determination of areas, distribution of inputs and other project activities were taken strictly on merit by a broad based committee (comprising donors, establishment department and PaRRSA) as per government policy of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The upper Swat areas like Kalam, Uthror etc and other districts in Malakand division have been totally neglected. It seems some easily accessible areas have been focused at the cost of others. Sanaullah, however, said Eralp was working in the predefined area as agreed with the donors at the designing stage and uniformity of coverage had been ensured in the project area.

“The Upper Swat area and other districts of Malakand Division were out of the project’s sphere, so there were no project activities there. But if the donors/government provided us the requisite funds, the project could be extended. Happily, the promised Rs200mn would be utilised for the purpose,” an official said.

Unfair Net hydel profit share

Water and Power Development Authority

Water and power development authority

 share

Steps should be taken to ensure actual amount of hydel profits to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

By Tahir Ali

http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/sep2011-weekly/nos-18-09-2011/pol1.htm#5

The debate on the net hydel profit (NHP) arrears the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) owes to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has resurfaced with an all parties’ conference in Peshawar, unanimously calling upon the federal government to pay the NHP arrears of Rs258 billion as soon as possible.

Held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti and attended by all major political parties within or without the assemblies, the conference expressed concern over capping of NHP at Rs6 billion and resolved to back the KP government in its NHP endeavours.

Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel, former finance minister and member of KP national finance commission (NFC) team, laments that WAPDA has capped the annual NHP at Rs6bn against the dictates of AGN Qazi formula (QF), which was unanimously endorsed by NFC meeting in February 1988, approved by Council of Common Interests in January 1991 and validated by presidential NFC order No3 of 1991. The NFC had recommended increase of 10 percent on Rs6 billion for future years. He says as per KP’s calculation based on the QF, its annual NHP for 2010-11 stands at Rs40bn against Rs6bn.

“While Punjab is being paid Rs5bn for around 100MW of electricity produced at Ghazi Barotha power project, KP is given Rs6bn despite the fact that it produces around 4000MW and power tariff has been increased manifold since then,” he says.

Besides the fact that Rs6bn was determined based on power tariffs of 1987 at the rate of Rs0.33 per unit, in dollar terms in 1991, Rs6bn equaled $200 million. Now it can fetch around $70 million with the current rate of return.

The Arbitration Tribunal (AT) headed by Justice Ajmal Mian had agreed to QF for calculating NHP for 1991-92 but did not apply the QF mechanism for the years onward and rather adhered to a mechanism of compound indexation of 10 percent per year in NHP, using Rs6.9bn as benchmark which was calculated on the basis of QF by WAPDA for 1991. While the provincial conference projected the arrears at Rs258bn,

Adeel says it is around Rs300bn now. “Apart from Rs75bn NHP arrears (the AT decreed it at Rs110bn but Rs35bn have been paid to the province till now), as per QF and AT award, WAPDA owes us over Rs55bn for 10 percent interest on the outstanding amount and Rs203bn for due but unpaid increased NHP amount post AT award and another Rs40 billion as this year’s NHP,” he says.

Had that period and amount also been included, KP’s outstanding amount against WAPDA would have been much more than at present. It further claimed that according to the QF, the revenues should include all the revenues paid by the consumers, including surcharge and additional surcharges.

WAPDA, however, proposed Rs72bn against Rs83bn already paid, thus claiming Rs10.9bn as overpayment to KP and said that surcharges of Rs829bn and other revenues of Rs195bn could not be used for NHP determination. It also stubbornly rejected as unconstitutional the QF.

KP, realising that WAPDA is too weak financially or reluctant to provide the money, has focussed on the federal government being guarantor of the AT award and rightly so.

Para 3 and 4 of the Presidential NFC order No3 of 1991 states: The net profits from the bulk generation of power at the hydro-electric stations located in the provinces shall be paid by the concerned undertaking established or administered by the federal government (i.e. WAPDA) to the provinces and that the federal government shall guarantee payment of net profits to the provinces concerned by the above undertaking on a regular basis.

Based on the NFC award, AT award was binding on all parties. It had been signed by the then WAPDA chairman Tariq Hamid and secretary finance KP and endorsed by the federal secretary water and power from the federal government. But WAPDA challenged the award in a civil court. Sensing betrayed, KP also went to the Supreme Court against this move where the case is still pending.

When the present ANP-led coalition government was installed, it soon formed an all parties Jirga headed by CM Hoti that met Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in September 2008 and apprised him of their grievances on capped annual NHP and arrears.

The PM promised to solve the problems and formed a committee of experts to present its report within two months on the issues. Later in October 2009, the PM announced payment of Rs110 billion arrears on behalf of WAPDA in five annual installments to be given on July 1 each year with the promise to release first installment of Rs10 but it was paid only in December when the provincial NFC team threatened boycott of its proceedings.

The technical committee is yet to give its decision. KP finance ministry’s white paper says that while participating in the committee, KP shall not accept reopening of issues already decided/settled, that any settlement must conform to the parameters of AT and NFC awards, and that calculation of NHP shall be in accordance with QF.

Last year, the federal government paid Rs25bn simultaneously but it has released only Rs4.6bn till date and intends to release the amount in bits and pieces.

Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, president of Pakistan Peoples Party (S) says the coalition at the centre and province should have no problem in increasing annual NHP, giving the province its arrears along with mark up for the entire period. “Our party would support the government in its bid to get NHP arrears and increase the NHP annual amount as a matter of provincial right. But in case they fail to do so, ANP should come out of the federal government,” he says.

“Arbitration was unnecessary in the matter. NHP is the constitutional right that was accepted by AG N Qazi commission, established in 1987 by CCI and guaranteed by constitutional provisions and no government could have denied NHP to the province. However KP government must stick to the QF and never renege on provincial rights,” he adds.

Sub-clause 2 of Article 157 of the Constitution clearly empowers the provinces to construct power projects, levy taxes on, and fix tariff, for electricity, construct distribution and transmission lines for distribution of power and the provinces should insist on provincial management rather than the central bodies like WAPDA, Nepra and Pepco, etc, but provinces have reneged on their rights.

 

””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

Text of the article as it was sent to the paper

The Net Hydel Profit dispute between KP and WAPDA/federal govt

 

By Tahir Ali

 

The debate on the net hydel profit (NHP) arrears the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) has to pay to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa resurfaced again with an all parties’ conference in Peshawar recently calling upon the federal government to pay the due NHP arrears of Rs258 billion as soon as possible.

 

Held under the chairmanship of chief minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti and attended by all major political parties, the conference expressed concern over capping of NHP at Rs6 billion and resolved to back the KP government in its endeavours to get NHP arrears.

 

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa intends to take up the issue with the federal government forcefully in coming days and the issue, inter alia, has the potential to harm the PPP-ANP coalition if it remains unresolved.

 

The Arbitration Tribunal (AT) headed by Justice Ajmal Mian had decreed that WAPDA would pay Rs110bn NHP arrears in equal instalments of Rs25 billion.  Last year, the federal government paid Rs25bn but it has released only Rs4.6bn till date and intends to release the amount in bits and pieces. KP abhors this scenario as it has projected the money in its revenue estimates and the denial or delaying of the amount could expose the province to financial problems.

 

CM Hoti recently said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa wanted the NHP amount in cash and would not accept its adjustment against federal government loans as was being suggested.

 

Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel, former KP finance minister and member of KP national finance commission (NFC) team says WAPDA owes us around Rs300bn now. “Apart from Rs75bn NHP arrears, as per AGN Qazi formula (QF) and AT award, WAPDA owes us over Rs55bn for 10 per cent interest on the outstanding amount and Rs203bn for due but unpaid increased NHP amount post AT award and another Rs40 billion as this year’s NHP,” he says.

 

Adeel says as per KP’s calculation based on the QF, its annual NHP for 2010-11 stands at Rs40bn against Rs6bn but laments that WAPDA has capped the annual NHP at Rs6bn against the dictates of QF that had been unanimously endorsed by NFC meeting in February 1988, approved by Council of Common Interests in January 1991 and validated by presidential NFC order No3 of 1991. The NFC had recommended increase of 10 per cent on Rs6 billion for future years.

 

“While Punjab is being paid Rs5bn for around 100MW of electricity produced at Ghazi Barotha power project, KP is given Rs6bn despite the fact that it produces around 4000MW and power tariff  has been increased manifold since then,” he adds.

 

Besides, Rs6bn was determined based on power tariffs of 1987 at the rate of Rs0.33 per unit, in dollar terms in 1991, Rs6bn equalled $200 million but it comes to around $70 million with the current rate of return.

 

The AT had agreed with QF for calculating NHP for 1991-92 but did not apply the QF mechanism for the years onward and rather adhered to a mechanism of compound indexation of 10% per year in NHP using Rs6.9bn as benchmark which was calculated on the basis of QF by WAPDA for 1991- the year prior to restructuring and also when no surcharges and additional surcharges were levied.

 

In the AT, the MMA government had claimed Rs595 billion (Rs292bn principal amount and the rest mark-up) from 1991-2005 but it had abandoned NHP demand from 1973 to 1991 as well as interest on the amount WAPDA owed to KP.

 

Had that period and amount also been included, KP’s outstanding amount against WAPDA would have been much more than at present.

 

It further claimed that according to the QF, the revenues should include all the revenues paid by the consumers, including surcharge and additional surcharges.

 

WAPDA however proposed Rs72bn against Rs83bn already paid, thus claiming Rs10.9bn as overpayment to KP and said that surcharges of Rs829bn and other revenues of Rs195bn could not be used for NHP determination. It also stubbornly rejected as unconstitutional the QF.

 

KP, realising that WAPDA is too weak financially or reluctant to provide the money, has focussed on the federal government being guarantor of the AT award and rightly so.

 

Para 3 and 4 of the Presidential NFC order No3 of 1991 states: The net profits from the bulk generation of power at the hydro-electric stations located in the provinces shall be paid by the concerned undertaking established or administered by the federal government (i.e. WAPDA) to the provinces and that the federal government shall guarantee payment of net profits to the provinces concerned by the above undertaking on a regular basis.

 

Based on the NFC award, AT award was binding on all parties. It had been signed by the then WAPDA chairman Tariq Hamid and secretary finance KP and endorsed by the federal secretary water and power from the federal government. But WAPDA, showing its intransigence, challenged the award in a civil court.

 

Sensing betrayed, KP also went to the Supreme Court against this move where the case is still pending.

 

When the present ANP-led coalition government was installed, it soon formed an all parties Jirga headed by CM Hoti that met PM Gilani in September 2008 and apprised him of their grievances on capped annual NHP and arrears thereof besides mark up, and also complaining that the province was being subjected to worst load-shedding and highest electricity tariff.

 

Gilani promised to solve the problems and formed a committee of experts to present its report within two months on the issues of capped NHP amount, NHP up to 2004-05 and from 2005-06  onwards along with mark up.  Later in October 2009, PM announced payment of Rs110 billion arrears on behalf of WAPDA in five annual instalments to be given on July 1 each year with the promise to release first instalment of Rs10 but it was paid only in December when the provincial NFC team threatened boycott of its proceedings.

 

The technical committee is yet to give its decision. KP finance ministry’s white paper says while participating in the committee, KP shall not accept reopening of issues already decided/settled, that any settlement must conform to the parameters of AT and NFC awards, and that calculation of NHP shall be in accordance with QF.

 

Attempts to contact central leader of Jamaat-e-Islami Sirajul Haq, provincial president of Pakistan Muslim League-Q Amir Muqam Khan and Akram Khan Durrani, former CM KP, didn’t succeed.

 

Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, president of Pakistan Peoples Party (S) said the same coalition at the centre and province should have no problem in increasing annual NHP, giving the province its arrears along with mark up for the entire period. “Our party would support the government in its bid to get NHP arrears and increase the NHP annual amount as a matter of provincial right. But in case they fail to do so, ANP should come out of the federal government,” he said.

 

“Arbitration was unnecessary in the matter. NHP was/is the constitutional right that was accepted by AG N Qazi commission, established in 1987 by CCI and guaranteed by constitutional provisions and no government could have denied NHP to the province. However KP government must stick to the QF and never renege on provincial rights,” he added.

 

“But we would also like to know as to what happened to the Hydel Development Fund and the money provided thus far. The provincial finance commission would also be amended accordingly,” he said.

 

Sub-clause 2 of Article 157 of the constitution clearly empowers the provinces to construct power projects, levy taxes on, and fix tariff, for electricity, construct distribution and transmission lines for distribution of power and the provinces should insist on provincial management rather than the central bodies like WAPDA, Nepra and Pepco etc, but provinces have reneged on their rights.

 

WAPDA has always been reluctant to either increase the annual NHP instalment and has been delaying the payment with one pretext or the other. NHP to the province is due since 1973-74 after the constitutional provisions took effect. But no profits were paid upto 1991-92. For the first time, in March 1978, General Ziaul Haq ordered the disbursement of the profits but with no outcome. Several resolutions by KP assembly have also proved futile.

 

tahir_katlang@yahoo.com

Table 1-details of mark up

Details of outstanding mark up on NHP
   (Rs in Billion)  
· Principal Award Amount (F.Y 1991-92 to 2004-05) 110.101
· Mark-up as per Award of Arbitration Tribunal 10%
· Left over amount from Principal 0.101
· Mark-up (9.10.06 to 30.6.07) 7.993
· F.Y 2007-08 (1.7.07 to 30.6.08) 11.010
· F.Y 2008-09 (1.7.08 to 30.6.09) 11.010
· F.Y 2009-10 (1.7.09 to 16.11.09) 4.159
Sub Total 34.273
· Mark-up on Rs. 100 billion 6.170
(From 17.11.09 to 30.06.2010)  
· Mark-up on Rs. 75 billion 7.500
(From 1.7.2010 to 30.06.2011)  
· Mark-up on Rs. 50 billion 5.000
(From 01.7.2010 to 30.06.2012)  
· Mark-up on Rs. 25billion 2.500
(From 1.7.2012 to 30.06.2013)  
Sub Total 21.170
Total (Future Payable) 55.443

 

Table 2- Details of increased NHP

Year wise details of NHP with mark-up (Post Award period on Compound indexation @ 10% per-annum)
I             FY 2005-06  
           a) Provincial Claim 26.32
           b) Amount Received 6
           c) Balance Amount 20
   d) Mark up @ 10% (1.7.2006 to 30.6.2011) 10.51
          Total 30.45
   
ii          FY 2006-07  
a)  Provincial Claim 28.93
 b)  Amount Received 6
 c)  Balance amount 22.9
 d)  Mark up @ 10% (1.7.2007 to 30.6.2011) 9.7
            Total 32.1
iii         FY 2007-08  
a) Provincial Claim 31.82
b) Amount Received 6
c) Balance amount 25.82
d) Mark up @ 10% (1.7.2008 to 30.6.2011) 7.74
            Total 33.56
Iv           FY 2008-09  
a) Provincial Claim 35
b) Amount Received 6
c) Balance amount 29
d) Mark up @ 10% (1.7.2009 to 30.6.2011) 5.794
Total 34.80
v          FY 2009-10  
a) Provincial Claim 38.50
b) Amount Received 6
c) Balance amount 32.50
d) Mark up @ 10% (1.7.2010 to 30.6.2011) 3.24
Total 35.75
Vi        FY 2010-11  
a) Provincial Claim 42.35
b) Amount Received 6
c) Balance amount 36.35
Total 203.03
Grand Total along with Rs55.44 mark up 258.47

 

Unaffordable soil testing

Unaffordable soil testing

The private sector should also set up its own soil testing laboratories in farming areas to supplement the work of the public sector. – File photo

“I AM 70 and have never used the soil testing technology so far,” says Niaz Muhammad, a Swat-based farmer. “Such technologies are only for big farmers of the plains and not for the poor growers of remote areas,”
he says.

Most farmers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have remained deprived of the enormous benefits of soil testing technology due to apparent failure of the government to sponsor it in the province. Many farmers still do not know why this technology is
essential and how it is beneficial because of the limited outreach of the programme.

The reason is simple: the concerned department officials do not contact farmers at their doorsteps. The outcome is low per acre yield. Nutrient depletion and land degradation are the major factors for low agricultural productivity.

Addition of toxic and harmful substances to the soil in significant quantities contaminates it and disturbs its chemical composition. This is generally caused by application of chemical industrial wastes and excessive or inappropriate use of fertilisers and pesticides.

The soil in any country, based on its composition, has been divided into eight categories. The first has the least limitations for agricultural use and can give high yield of crop with proper management. Categories II and III have relatively more limitations for farm use and need better management. The problems are severer in category IV soil which, though capable of producing a few marginal crops, has little ability for improvement. Soils from categories V to VII are not suited to arable farming but can be used for rangeland or forestry. Soil of category VIII is barren.

Application of suitable fertiliser and pesticides to the soil, at appropriate time and in proper way and quantity increases its productivity by 30-50 per cent. The soil testing technology helps determine the kinds of chemical input the soil needs to improve its output.

“In agriculture offices in some districts and research stations on different crops – for example, the tobacco research stations, sugar/cereal crops research institutes – there are soil testing laboratories where soil samples are examined, analysed and the results conveyed to farmers suggesting the requirements of the land under their use. The growers are also helped and guided how to improve its fertility,” said an official.

“It is with the help of this technology that farmers are able to control the degradation and improve physical properties of land to increase yield and ensure prosperity for the farmers,” he added, emphasising the need to increase the number of soil testing laboratories across the province to facilitate the growers.

Sabir Ali Khan, another farmer from Swabi, says that after repeated poor yields, he had a chance to get the soil tested in a laboratory which diagnosed its deficiencies and enabled him to take measures to increase its productivity.

Farmers often opt to use or reject a particular technology on the basis of their interest, experience, the cost of the product and their financial position. They usually oppose new technologies and strategies but once their utility is established, they adopt it. But this requires expertise, contacts and sufficient strength of extension personnel, which unfortunately are lacking here.

Small farmers lack resources to approach the research and extension systems. The department with its aversion to participatory approach i.e. working together with farmers in the target area, has also left them in the lurch.

Average per hectare yield of wheat in KP is much less than the national average. In 2007-08, the national average yield per hectare was 2,585kg for the country while for KP it was 1471kg. Average sugarcane yield by progressive farmers is around 40 tons per acre while ordinary farmers still have per acre yield of around 16-20 tons. Per acre yield of maize in central Punjab has gone up to 4,600 kg, whereas it is generally between 700-1,200kg in KP.

“Soil testing laboratories should be established in all district and tehsils of the province with the use of geographical information system for assessment and mapping of soil fertility.

Soil testing laboratories had been promised at the model farm services centres in all districts but these
are yet to be provided in most of the districts.

The private sector should also set up its own soil testing laboratories in farming areas to supplement the work of the public sector.

Under performing sugar crops research institute

I took photo with Canon camera.

Image via Wikipedia

Sugarcane research in a shambles
By Tahir Ali Khan
August 29, 2011

http://www.dawn.com/2011/08/29/agriculture-and-technology-sugarcane-research-in-a-shambles.html

KHYBER Pakhtunkhwa’s Sugar Crop Research Institute in Mardan is handicapped for paucity of funds, shortage of research staff and meagre seed production capacity, according to its officials.

“About 80 per cent of our limited budget is consumed by wage-bill and the rest is spent mainly on land preparation, cultivation and harvesting at the SCRI and two other research stations at Harichand and Dargai. There is virtually nothing left for research and development work,” said Sartaj Ali, farm manager at the SCRI.

While there are no funds for purchasing new equipment and machinery, load-shedding and low voltage often damage the precious equipment installed in early 1990s.

The institute is spread over 96 acres. One-third of the 70 acres available for cultivation is kept fallow while the rest is under cane cultivation. “But only 15 acres are under seed multiplication that produce around 440 tons of quality cane-seeds. This is clearly insufficient for the province. And in its subsidiary, Harichand farm too, 10 of 20 acres available for cane-seed multiplication remains unused for want of funds,” he said.

“The SCRI has developed 22 cane varieties so far. Some of these varieties have increased yield and income of farmers.

“Sugarcane farmers in 75 per cent areas grow CP77/400, a seed variety developed by SCRI. Sugarcane requires abundant water, more than required by rice crop. So we have developed SPSG-394, Mardan 92, and NCO310 as well for water stress areas. Most of these varieties have 12 per cent of sugar recovery ratio, the highest at world level,” he added.

“We are trying to bridge the huge gap between yields of farmers, institute and progressive farmers. While our average yield at the SCRI is about 32-36 tons, progressive farmers obtain around 40 tons per acre while per acre yield of common farmers is not more than 16-20 tons,” he said. “Their efforts in this regard have failed due to weak extension service and liaison with farmers as a result of shortage of staff and resources at our end and ignorance and lack of cooperation and coordination at the farmers’ side,” he added.

The staff shortage has also undermined the research work at the SCRI. Lack of service structure and opportunities for promotion as well as poor remuneration have discouraged many a talented people to join as research officers and encouraged the existing ones to leave for lucrative offers elsewhere.

“Over half of the 20 research officers’ slots are lying vacant. Country-wise, the situation is even worse. Over 260 of the 350 research officers in the SCRIs countrywide have left. Another problem is that 60 per cent of the existing research officers, recruited in 1973-74, are retiring in the next three to four years. There is no replacement for them in sight, he said.

Responding to a question on the causes of low cane yield, Ali said: “Most farmers resort to intercropping of wheat and cane which reduces output. Most of the farmers use less than the recommended four tons seed per acre, resulting in less plant population. They also do not use enough fertiliser and pesticides. Moreover, they still grow old varieties and delay cultivation and harvesting of cane for better prices.

Regular watering, inconsistent rains and abundant poplar trees around field also reduce yield and cause termites problems as well. Another issue is that of small landholding. Land fragmentation reduces cropped areas and compels farmers to do inter-cropping and makes commercial and mechanised farming impossible,” he added.

“Farmers should grow early cane varieties (CP72/2086, CP80/1827, Mardan93 and CP85/1491) as these mature in September/October and provide better sugar recovery (12 per cent) and price, an opportunity to cultivate wheat in time and save ratoons from frost and cold,” he added.

According to him, globally, education, research and extension are looked after by the universities. “In Pakistan too from 1982 till 2006, research work was the responsibility of universities. This expedited the process of sanctioning the project. But in 2006-07, during the previous MMA government, research was handed over to the department, not a good decision,” he said.

“The agriculture department has launched Rs30 million project for sugarcane seed production through chip buds, chip nodes and standardisation of technology in KP but it needs to be speedily and effectively implemented.”

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