The Supreme Court has ordered the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, K-Electric, and the Sindh government to come up with a “practical” and “viable” solution for their unpaid electricity bills.
This case has been running for several years. It started after K-Electric disconnected the power supply toKMC or city government head office over unpaid bills. Power was eventually restored but the bills weren’t paid. KMC now owes Rs580 million.
On February 14, the Sindh High Court ordered the city government to pay up. The corporation challenged the verdict in the Supreme Court.
Justice Maqbool Baqar and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah were hearing the case at the Karachi Registry on Wednesday. Twenty men, including lawyers and city and Sindh government officials, appeared before the bench.
KMC hasn’t been getting funds, remarked Mayor Wasim Akhtar. “Our problem is with the Sindh government.” The metropolitan corporation wants the Sindh government to pay the amount on its behalf because it doesn’t have the money.
“You must understand that the Sindh government has constraints too,” said Justice Baqar while addressing KMC representatives.
He said that all parties should show the will and commitment to solve the problem. “We don’t want to shout at people or interfere in the work of government institutions,” he added.
The court has given them until Friday to present a solution in writing. It ordered these organisations to hold meetings for the next two days until they come up with a solution.
It was suggested the court also decide a venue for the meetings.
“We believe you can figure that out on your own,” Justice Baqar responded.
The next hearing will be held on April 12, Friday.
At the previous hearing on April 2, the court came down hard on KMC for not being able to pay for its electricity. KMC should use the electricity it is allotted in its budget, Justice Shah had remarked. “You people have even installed air conditioners in your washrooms. You shouldn’t have used so much electricity.”
He said people who are given Rs10 million in funding cannot use up electricity worth Rs20 million and then complain about a lack of funds.
“You get a budget for your administrative expenses. You shouldn’t have exceeded that,” remarked Justice Shah. He said that the Sindh government has been paying KMC’s bills for the last seven years and the metropolitan corporation has grown used to it.