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December 3, 2018

Diamer-Bhasha Dam: Wapda accused of manoeuvring bidding process

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December 3, 2018

ISLAMABAD: As donations keep pouring in for the Diamer-Bhasha Dam (DBD), the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) has been accused of maneuvering the bidding process to award the contract to a local firm lacking requisite experience and expertise.

Meanwhile, a joint venture (JV) led by a German firm that had qualified has been dropped for unexplained reasons. This fact is also acknowledged by the Wapda officials dealing with the matter; nevertheless, they insist on awarding contract to a local firm because “it is easy to handle.”

Chairman Wapda in a TV interview has also affirmed that the award will go to a local firm. Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) has also raised alarms calling on the chairman to examine the allegations and, if found genuine, take necessary action against “all those officers involved in corrupt practices and direct the department to follow the PPRA Rules, to avoid mis-procurement charges against the Wapda.”

Subsequently, the Wapda issued RFPs in November last year, asking the prequalified bidders to submit technical and financial proposals containing comprehensive criteria for ascertaining their capabilities in order to select the best JV of consultants, out of three competitors.

Instead of declaring the winner selected after seven months evaluation, the Wapda started pressing the NDC to break with the German company and partner with a local company which is being touted a favorite.

The NDC refused to oblige, it has been learnt. The NDC was also a consultant in yet another RCC dam construction through a JV with the same German firm, Gomal Zam Dam, which is far smaller than the DBD. Meanwhile, a fresh RFP has been issued which, ACEP says, has been “designed with manipulative provisions.”

A letter addressed to the chairman Wapda says ACEP is “deeply concerned about few provisions embedded in the RFP which are in violation of relevant regulations such as PPRA Rules and PEC (Pakistan Engineering Council) Regulations; which deny level playing field to the Pakistan consultants experienced in this field.”

The letter also mentions that a local firm doesn’t have necessary skills to independently construct RCC dam. “In a JV, the partners, whether local or international, are responsible jointly and severally; as such, awarding contract only on the shoulder of the local consultant is not legally tenable.

In Pakistan, there is no such local expertise for design of such magnitude of roller compacted concrete structure in highly seismic zone and even any local consultant is bound to induct international consultants who must invariably be for his professional liabilities.”

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