ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court was informed that the amount in dams fund has increased to Rs 16.53 billion, which in the next quarter will become Rs 16.98 billion.
A five-judge special bench, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, on Thursday, heard the implementation of its directives regarding the construction of Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams.
Former chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar on July 10, 2018, had set up the Supreme Court of Pakistan Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dams Fund to raise money for the construction of Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams. When then Prime Minister Imran Khan announced to join efforts with Saqib Nisar for the construction of dams then the Fund’s name was changed as the Supreme Court and Prime Minister Diamer-Basha and Mohmand Dams Fund.
The representatives of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the National Bank of Pakistan, through video-link, informed the bench that the dams fund’s amount has been invested in government securities, which is managed by the SBP. All the banks collect the funds and deposit in the dams fund account maintained at the SBP, told the NBP official, and added every three months, the interest on the Fund is re-invested.
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Secretary Power Division informed that the incumbent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has given priority to the construction of Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams. Justice Ijaz noted that Shehbaz Sharif after taking oath as the PM had visited the site of Diamer Dam.
He said the federal government had given an undertaking to the Supreme Court bench that funds for the dams will not be withheld.
The chief justice said they (the judges) also have concern about the financial difficulty, which the government and the society are facing.
He asked the secretary finance to take measures to reduce expenses and increase resources. “Good nations face the challenges bravely and overcome them.” The chief justice remarked that the SBP is the credible institution to manage the dams fund. He said the dams fund’s status is available on the SC’s website and now anyone who had donated to the dams fund can trace on the SC’s website how much he/she has contributed.
The CJP said the dam funds will be used only for purchasing the machinery of the powerhouses of these dams, adding it cannot be used for the damage caused by the floods. At the onset of the hearing, Wapda’s lawyer Saad Rasul said that the government in terms of Mohmand dam had committed Rs 25 billion in the PSDP, but disbursed Rs 2.5 billion in the first quarter, while gave nothing in the second quarter.
He further said that for Diamer dam Rs 27 billion were allocated but disbursed Rs 5.4 billion in the first quarter, while no funds were released in the second quarter.
Saad also said that the Power Division has to pay Rs 240 billion to the Wapda.
The secretary Power Division said the Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) after receiving money from the Discos transfer money to their account.
But there was an annual gap of Rs 400 billion last year, which will further increase, adding the gap is due to line loss and power theft. He told that circular debt at present is Rs 2.6 trillion.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023