close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
May 19, 2020

Heads of three IRSA members may roll today for blocking telemetry project

National

May 19, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Heads of three members of IRSA (Indus River System Authority) are most likely to be rolled as rifts between the water regulator and Ministry of Water Resources have reached a point of no return for blocking the project of installing telemetry system on Indus Basin Irrigation System, ensuring the real time flow measurement system for a just and transparent water distribution among the four federating units. "Yes, the summary for removal of three members of IRSA from Punjab, Sindh and federal government is on the agenda of federal cabinet that is meeting today (Tuesday)," a senior official of Ministry of Water Resources told The News.

According to the official documents and officials correspondence available with The News, the situation boiled to this point when IRSA refused to award to M/s MM Pakistan the telemetry system contract worth Rs805 million for a just water distribution among the four federating units following refusal of Punjab Irrigation Department (PID) to give satisfactory certificate to MM Pakistan by raising serious concerns over it expertise in the supreme interest of the country.

"M/s MM Pakistan is also currently providing its services in the contract of engineering design, procurement and construction management in Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit -- the flagship project of PTI government," a senior official said. This has offended the top mandarins of the Ministry of Water Resources which has now recommended in its summary to the federal cabinet to remove three members from Punjab, Sindh and the Member Federal of IRSA for blocking the project. "Interestingly, the ministry has recommended to remove the members without the approval of the provinces.”

The document pertaining to PM’s inquiry order into the issue cite the Member Punjab as saying in that the Managing Director of M/S MM Pakistan Wasim Nazir met with Secretary of Ministry of Water Resources Mohammad Ashraf and top man of the ministry to exert pressure on IRSA to award telemetry contract to M/S MM Pakistan.

Interestingly, Syed Mehr Ali Shah, Joint Secretary Ministry of Water Resources who is from NESPAK, tried pillar to post to award the project to NESPAK, but IRSA in consultation with the World Bank has scratched the fresh bidding, the Punjab member said. The IRSA in consultation with the World Bank which is financing the project has cancelled the bidding process to avoid the NAB investigation.

"The Prime Minister of Pakistan had asked for initiating the inquiry over the delay in awarding of contract which has now been completed and in the light of the inquiry, the Ministry of Water Resources has prepared a summary for federal cabinet holding three members responsible for the delay and recommended their removal without the willingness of the provinces."

According to the correspondence between IRSA, Punjab Irrigation Department and Ministry of Water Resources, it is quite evident that how telemetry system already delayed for two decades for just and transparent water distribution among the federating units was attempted to be given to M/S MM Pakistan whose performance is not satisfactory.

The World Bank approved the financing of Rs805 million for installing the telemetry system pilot project at 7 sites on the Indus Basin. The telemetry system was to be installed under PC-1 of Water Sector Capacity Building and Advisory Services Project initiated with help of World Bank.

It may be pointed out that Punjab has not withdrawn their letter regarding objections at the MM Pakistan’s performance. And to interpret, the Punjab Member was reluctant in execution of the project a far-fetched conclusion and does not appeal to the logic.

In his response to the inquiry, he also brought the facts to the notice of Prime Minister about Syed Mehr Ali Shah, who is the joint secretary in the Ministry of Water Resources, saying he is an employee of NESPAK and is serving in BS-20 as Joint Secretary (Water) in ministry since February 2015. He is also holding the BS-21 post of Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters (PCIW) in addition to working as Project Director, WCAP. Apparently, the joint secretary (Water), Ministry of Water Resources, preferred to see the contract allotted to M/s NESPAK.