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Saturday April 13, 2024

Security reasons: Chinese company suspends work on power project

The 1,530 MW 5th Extension Hydropower Project T-5 is being funded by the World Bank to the tune of US$390 million

By Our Correspondent
March 28, 2024
This image shows the Tarbela 5th Extension Hydropower Project. — APP/File
This image shows the Tarbela 5th Extension Hydropower Project. — APP/File

HARIPUR: A Chinese construction company working on the Tarbela-5th Extension Hydropower Project in Haripur has suspended activities and laid off workers for security reasons, sources said on Wednesday.

The decision was conveyed to office staff and site workers through an “Office Order” issued on Tuesday from the Power Construction Corporation China Ltd (PCCCL) after Tuesday’s suicide attack in the Besham town of Shangla district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that left five Chinese nationals and a Pakistani dead.

The suspension of work on the project and decision to lay off Pakistani workers was for an indefinite period, said the letter issued from the office of Power Construction Corporation China Ltd after Tuesday’s suicide attack.

According to the office order sent to district administration and Wapda offices from the office of Admin Manager, Power Construction Corporation China Ltd, at 5th Extension Hydropower Project known as T-5 Project, the project’s work was suspended and all the site workers and office staff laid off till further orders due to security reasons. It said the staff would be called back on duty only when informed by the section in-charge.

When approached, Aslam Adil, general secretary of Awami Labour Union T-5 Hydropower Project, Tarbela, confirmed that the Chinese company had suspended work and laid off about 2,500 Pakistani workers from the project’s site for an indefinite period. However, he believed that under the labour laws, the workers laid off from the T-5 Project had not lost their jobs but were entitled to 50 percent salary till the day they were called back to resume duties.

He hoped the situation would normalise and workers would be called back for duties within the next few days as the government was going to enhance security for the Chinese.

The 1,530 MW 5th Extension Hydropower Project T-5 is being funded by the World Bank to the tune of US$390 million while Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has a lending volume of US$300 million. The project is scheduled to be completed by May 2026.