Tuesday November 29, 2022

Senate panel displeased with absence of minister, power secretary, KE CEO from meeting

November 23, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Committee on Power Division on Tuesday showed displeasure over the absence of federal minister, secretary Power Division and CEO of K-Electric from the meeting.

Senator Saifullah Abro, while chairing the meeting, said that the minister had not attended even a single meeting during the last seven months.

The chairman said that the committee has made numerous recommendations to the Power Division and unfortunately none had been implemented so far.

The committee decided and directed the Ministry to provide feedback on thirteen important recommendations/issues within 10 days.

The committee was briefed by the officials of Nandipur Power Plant with respect to the bidding process followed in award of project. The officials informed that the advertisement was initially published for Chichoki Malian project and three firms participated in the bidding process, which includes Alstom-Marubeni, Dongfang Electric Corporation Ltd. and Harbin Power Engineering Company Limited.

However, the government awarded the Nandi Power Plant to lowest bidder instead of Chichoki Malian project.

Saifullah Abro said that there was clear evidence of irregularities and the government could not initiate the bidding process on one project and award another project to the same bidder because both the projects were located at different locations and had different estimated cost.

He recommended the ministry to take necessary action against the irregularities and provide details of officials who were in-charge at that time.

He also directed the Power Division to provide the bidding details of Haveli Bahadur Shah Power Plant, Neelum-Jhelum hydropower plant and Bhikki combined-cycle power plant in the next meeting.

While discussing the circular debt of K-Electric, which currently stood at Rs300 billion as of October, 2022 evaluation, Arshad Majeed, Additional Secretary Power Division, informed the committee that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has constituted a committee under the supervision of Khaqan Abbasi to probe the matter.

Senator Saifullah Abro told that committee was formed in June 2022 and questioned as to what measures the ministry had taken earlier.

He further directed the K-Electric to pay the circular debt of Rs58 billion of the year 2008 to which the K-Electric agreed.

The committee deferred the matter and decided to conduct a meeting on the said matter within a week.

Moreover, the matter pertaining to restoration of work on Neelum-Jhelum hydropower plant was also taken up by the committee.

The officials stated that the fault occurred in July and restoration work would be completed in May next year at estimated cost of Rs2.3 billion.

Tauseef H. Farooqi, Chairman NEPRA, was of the opinion that the shutdown of Neelum-Jhelum power plant was costing Rs10 billion to government monthly and restoration work should be completed at the earliest.

The Senate body directed Wapda to submit an independent expert interim report before the committee in the next meeting