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April 8, 2021

KP govt fails to set up 672 mini micro hydel plants

Top Story

April 8, 2021

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has failed to set up 672 mini micro hydel plants (MMHP) in the province. A $237 million loan was signed with the Asian Development Bank in February 2017 for the flagship project of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government.

A PC-I of the project amounting to Rs16.434 billion was prepared to comprise two components that are MHPs and solarization of 8000 schools and 187 BHUs. The administrative approval to the project was granted by the Energy and Power Department on December 6, 2017 with a completion period of 5 years that is up to June 2022.

The Asian Development Bank released 15pc of the loan Rs 3,786.65 million on March 9, 2018. Out of the total expenditure in Phase-II, Rs 156.397 million have been spent on consultancy, however, no physical progress was achieved on the ground for the last 36 months. Similarly, the completed projects under Phase-I could not be handed over to the local community as planned because the mechanism for handing over has not been finalized yet.

When Chief Minister Mahmood Khan was contacted regarding the delay, he said the government is committed to providing cheap electricity to far-flung areas but progress on the project is very slow.

“The KP government has decided to investigate the matter. Action would be taken against those who are responsible for the delay in the PTI flagship project,” the chief minister maintained.

After completion of the first phase of mini micro power plants, the KP government undertook the second phase with the financial assistance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Under the loan, two projects have been envisaged that are 672 mini micro hydel projects and solarization of 8,000 schools and 187 BHUs. The project completion is scheduled for June 2021-22 but it could not be started yet.

Consultants for Phase-II were hired in September 2019; however, since then no concrete progress has been done. The procurement of construction contractors is still under process. Although the previous Board of PEDO has been dissolved and a new board has been constituted, the process is very slow.

Although the previous provincial government of the PTI had badly failed to achieve its first target of completing 356 mini micro hydel plants in the stipulated time frame, unfortunately, the same mistakes are being repeated in Phase-II of the project.

The sites for 672 mini micro hydel stations have neither been identified nor has the feasibility been conducted for implementing the power stations. This ADB loan has been singed long ago and it has not been utilized as planned, therefore, PEDO will have to pay a huge amount in terms of Commitment Charges.

PEDO sources confirmed that the selection of project directors is also a cause of delay in MMHPs because the advisor on Energy, KP, has directed that PDs should not be taken from PEDO; rather they should be appointed from the market. PEDO has advertised the posts of project directors but no suitable person could be found. However, the PDs appointed from the market for the Phase-II of mini micro hydel projects left the job just after two months.