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ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved a compensation package of US$2.58 million for the Chinese casualties at Dasu hydropower project on a proposal moved by the Ministry of Water Resources.

The meeting of the ECC presided over by Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb approved a technical supplementary grant of $2.58 million and Rs2.5 million to the Ministry of Water Resources as the compensation packages for Chinese and local causalities at DASU Hydropower Project.

Sources said that the Ministry of Water Resources in a summary stated that Dasu Hydropower Project (Dasu HPP) is Pakistan’s flagship project, being constructed with the assistance of World Bank (WB), which upon completion will enhance the generation capacity of the country by 4,320MW.

Terror attack near Besham: Govt to pay $2.5m compensation to Chinese nationals’ heirs

However, unfortunately, the project was hit twice by terrorist incidents, once on July 14, 2021, and then on March 26, 2024, and in the March 2024 incident, six employees of M/s China Gezhouba (M/s CGGC – contractor for main civil works), Including five Chinese nationals and one Pakistani driver, lost their lives.

WAPDA has requested the MoWR to constitute an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) to address the issue of compensation for the deceased employees as a goodwill gesture on the similarity of terrorist incident of July 2021 that resulted in demise of 10 and injury 26 Chinese nationals working with M/s CGGC.

Subsequently, the Chinese contractor demobilized from the site and raised several demands as preconditions to resume work and the matter was deliberated upon in the 15th meeting of the Project Steering Committee (PSC) for DasuHPP dated 22.09.2021 and an IMC was constituted under the convenorship of the secretary MoWR, to work out a compensation package for the affected Chinese nationals.

With that baseline in view, the IMC proposed various options by indexing the baseline amount upwards on the basis of inflation, increase in GDP per capita (PPP) and the nominal GDP increase etc. In light of the recommendations of the IMC, the ECC of the cabinet on January 21, 2022, approved payment of US$ 11.6 million to the families of the affected Chinese nationals.

While following the same course of action, the matter for compensation in the wake of the March 2024 incident was placed before the 20th meeting of the PSC for Dasu HPP, held on May 9, 2024.

In pursuance of the decision of the PSC, an IMC was constituted on May 9, 2024, under the Convenorship of Secretary MoWR and comprising secretaries of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Law and Justice Division, Finance Division, Interior Division and chairman WAPDA. The committee convened its meeting on May 14, 2024, and worked out the four options for the compensation package for the five deceased Chinese who lost their lives in the incident.

The IMC, unanimously, recommended option-3 as being consistent with the basis (GDP per capita and purchasing Power Parity) approved by the Cabinet in a similar matter of July 2021. The total compensation package amount, therefore, was US$2.58 million.

The committee further proposed that a compensation amount of Rs2.5 million may also be paid to the Pakistani national, who lost his life in the incident. The recommendations of the IMC were presented before the 21st meeting of the PSC for Dasu HPP, held on May 14, 2024, which endorsed the same.

The ministry requested approval of the ECC for;(i)the selection of appropriate option as compensation/goodwill package to the families of the affected Chinese nationals;(ii) the approved amount may be provided as a technical supplementary grant, to be arranged by Finance Division, as Ministry of Water Resources does not have any budgetary provision for the purpose; and (iii)the amount approved may be transferred to the account of Pakistan’s Embassy in Beijing China, for onward payment to the families of the deceased Chinese nationals through appropriate channel.

The ECC allowed the request of the Industries and Production Division for the release of Rs2,159.53 million from the already approved budgeted allocation, to pay gas bills of Pakistan Steel Mill (PSM).

The meeting approved the summary presented by the Ministry of Aviation to allow the utilisation of $8 million available with the National Bank of Pakistan to pay severance and other operational expenses of the Roosevelt Hotel.

The committee also considered the summary of the Finance Division to make amendments to policy for equity investment abroad to facilitate IT exports.

The ECC considered and approved proposals for technical supplementary grants, including;(1) Rs1,027.378 million to the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority for clearing matured liabilities of the contractors;(ii)Rs6.2 million to the Ministry of Interior, to be paid to the family of the deceased;(iii) Rs54.490 million to the Ministry of Interior as surrendered by Ministry of National Food Security and Research for the project of ICT Administration, Islamabad;(iv) Rs12,036.103 million to the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, in favour of the Federal Directorate of Immunization (FDI);(v) Rs2,217 million to the Power Division for development expenditures during current fiscal year;(vi) Rs184.509 million to the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority; and (vii) Rs70,484 million to the Ministry of Water Resources as rupee cover for the hydropower project.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024


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KU May 24, 2024 09:20am
Wish the same detail n precaution could have taken place to provide security to Chinese, that ECC is now deliberating upon. What happened to inquiries against officials involved in this lapse?
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