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ISLAMABAD: Senate Standing Committee on Power on Tuesday cleared two major scandals of power projects being undertaken by National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) with funding from the World Bank and Asia Development Bank, after the Inquiry Committee headed by caretaker Minister for Power and Petroleum, Muhammad Ali, claimed that both projects have been okayed by the two concerned financial institutions.

Presided over by Senator Azam Nazir Tarar, the Committee was briefed by Managing Director NESPAK, Zargham Eshaq Khan that NTDC, the executing agency of 765 kV double circuit transmission line from Dasu Hydropower project from Dasu to Islamabad, had informed World Bank that M/s Synohydro Corporation for LoT-1 was not qualified amongst the seven companies. However, World Bank said that pre-qualification be done amongst 9 companies after which M/s Synohydro was declared qualified.

The Committee was further informed that one of the companies i.e. M/s SA-RA from Turkey challenged the contract in Lahore High Court and lost the case twice. The Company has now filed intra-court appeal which is pending. The Company has also approached Integrity Vice Presidency (INT), an independent unit within the World Bank that investigates and pursues sanctions related to allegations of fraud and corruption in World Bank-financed projects. The Report of INT is awaited.

Senate body to discuss two major scandals of power projects today

The caretaker Minister for Power and Petroleum, Muhammad Ali also endorsed the viewpoint of Power Division, saying that World Bank, as the financing agency, has the power of Prior Review clause of projects which it used and asked NTDC to expand the competition after which Chinese firm was declared qualified. He said, the project is being completed in accordance with guidelines of World Bank.

After the briefing from Power Division and question answers the Committee noted that since the case is still under litigation and also with INT of World Bank, it should be disposed of at the Committee level.

The World Bank gave its No Objection Letter (NOL) for the revised prequalification evaluation report on June23, 2021 and thereafter results of prequalification were notified by NTDC the same day.

The Committee also cleared contracts awarded to (M/s Harbin Electric International) for Lot-II and Consultant (M/s GOPA Intec) for construction of 765 kV double circuit transmission line from Dasu Hydropower Station to Islamabad I/C grid station and Asian Development bank (ADB) project ASCR Bunting Conductor LoT-IIA.

Additional Secretary Incharge Power Division Asad ur Rehman Gilani informed the Committee that circular debt stock would close at Rs 2.3 trillion in FY 2023-24.

He said, recovery from anti-theft drive across the country stood at Rs 85 billion, adding that it will continue in future. He said ban has been imposed on transfer and posting in Discos as pressure is being exerting on Power Division after the general elections aimed at strengthening anti-theft drive. He said, 10 per cent target anti-theft drive has been achieved so far.

According to an official statement, TMD, NESPAK provided a detailed briefing on DTLP (Lot-I by M/s Sinohydro Corporation Limited), DTLP (Lot-II by M/s Harbin Electric International), DTLP (Consultant Hiring by M/s GOPA Intec), and ADB-4018-2022 (M/s Newage Cables Lahore). Additionally, he discussed the pre-qualification matter with Lot-I by M/s Sinohydro Corporation Limited thoroughly. The Minister for Energy (Power Division) added that the World Bank, being the donor agency, has the right to set the framework for changes, emphasizing that there was complete transparency and no malicious action from their end. He also clarified the allegations faced by M/s Harbin Electric International, stating that the accusations were false. The Committee expressed satisfaction with the working of the Power Division.

The committee members also discussed Public Petition No. PP-5485 regarding the restoration of electricity in Mirani Dam Feeder Dasht, District Kech. The Power Division explained that the system had deteriorated due to floods and emphasized the necessity of local support, as 80% of the inefficiency is attributed to a lack of financial resources and law enforcement support. The Chairman Committee assured the ministry of his support and recommended writing letter to the provincial government of Balochistan to facilitate the supply of electricity in the area.

Furthermore, the committee members discussed the recommendations made by the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce in its meeting held on 12th and 13th September, 2023 in Karachi. The Secretary, Power Division expressed that the commerce, power, finance, and petroleum divisions are collectively working to resolve the matter, especially concerning the substantial tariff involved.

The Committee Members also considered Public Petition No. PP-5652 & 5653 against the management of K-Electric IBC for the illegal disconnection of PMT in Jahanabad near Gulshan-e-Maymar, Karachi. The K-Electric official explained that after analysis, it was discovered that the fault was at the PMT end, and the issue had already been resolved.

Additionally, the Managing Director of NESPAK also provided a detailed presentation on the consultancy and progress of all NESPAK projects.

The meeting was attended by Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi, Senator Haji Hidayatullah Khan, Senator Saifullah Sarwar Khan Nyazee, Senator Sana Jamali, Minister for Energy (Power Division), Secretary, Power Division, MD, NESPAK and senior officials from the Ministry of Energy (Power Division), Ministry of Finance, K-Electric, Quetta Supply Electric Company (QESCO), and NTDC (National Transmission & Despatch Company).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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