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Grid station: issue of inauguration causes discord

The retiring Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Water and Power, Senator Zahid Khan and Ministry of Water and Power are said to have locked horns over the issue of inauguration of a grid station. On Tuesday, Senator Zahid Khan presided over a meeting of the Standing Committee in a hall of the parliament lodges which was neither attended by the Minister, senior bureaucrat nor any official of attached department.

Ministers, bureaucrats or top officials of attached departments were seen in the Ministry of Water and Power. When the issue of the meeting was raised with the Additional Secretary Water and Power, Omar Rasool, he said the meeting was postponed till the first week of February. However, Senator Nisar Mohmand maintained that the meeting was rescheduled for January 27, 2015 on the request of Ministry of Water and Power. But the Ministry on the night of January 26, 2015 wrote a letter to the Standing Committee secretariat that the proposed meeting should be cancelled because of other engagements of Ministers and concerned officials.

An insider told Business Recorder that a dispute between the Ministry and Senator Zahid Khan is raging on the proposed inauguration of a grid station which was the main reason for the current controversy. Senator Nisar Mohmand said the committee registered a complaint to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for a non-serious attitude of Water and Power Ministry. The prime minister took the notice of this situation and reprimanded the Ministry.

Earlier, Senator Zahid Khan presided over the meeting which was attended only by Senators. A furious Senator said the attitude of the government''s Ministers, which refers to itself as the champion of democracy, is uncalled for as Standing Committees are only fora which can check the highhandedness of Ministries. He said the behaviour of Ministers is insulting which is damaging Nawaz Sharif.

The committee meeting was attended by Senator Nisar Mohmand, Mohsin Laghair, Khalida Perveen and Nawabzada Saifullah Magsi. CEO Sepcol Shamsul Aziz disclosed that the company intends to generate electricity at a cost of Rs 8.50 per unit, but it is not being bought as NTDC suddenly stopped advance payment.

Chairman Committee Zahid Khan said the citizens are very upset due to power outages. The committee has played a positive role above political affiliation and gave suggestions to the government to resolve the power crisis. He said that in district Tank FIRs have been registered against protestors, adding that if the Parliament remains tight-lipped about real awareness regarding crisis it is not the real representative of the people.

Senator Nisar Mohmand said that the committee has no personal vendetta against anybody. The purpose is to serve the people and give positive suggestions on different issues. He said the eyes of the whole nation are fixed on Prime Minister for resolution of power crisis; however, the attitude of Federal Ministers is non-serious.

Senator Mohsin Laghari said that non-attendance of the committee meeting by the Ministers is an insult to Parliament and if government does not want to give importance to the committee members they must resign. Senator Khalida Perveen stated that committee members should not resign but instead Federal Ministers should resign as the power crisis is intensifying and the committee''s suggestions are being ignored by the ministry and its officers are getting rich with each and every passing day, but their output is zero. The committee unanimously decided that prior to the senate session on January 30, an informal meeting of the committee would be convened in which the future course of action of the next committee meeting would be chalked out.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015