Official summoned for delaying power plant

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ISLAMABAD: Against the backdrop of a severe power crisis, the Supreme Court summoned Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood on Thursday for allegedly acting as a stumbling block in the release of funds and thus delaying installation of a Rs20 billion, 450MW combined cycle power plant at Nandipur, Gujranwala.


A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was hearing a petition by PML-N leader Khawaja Mohammad Asif against the delay in the project.


Khawaja Asif had alleged that the Nandipur project — potentially the country’s cheapest power production plant — had remained stalled for years. The project that commenced in 2008 should have been completed by April 2011.


Earlier, the court had formed a commission comprising retired Justice Rehmat Hussain Jafri to investigate the factors behind delay in realisation of the contracts of two power projects.


The commission reported that the national exchequer had suffered a Rs113bn loss because of the delay in the contracts relating to Nandipur and a similar 595 megawatts Chichunki Malian project.


Advocate Khawaja Tariq Rahim, representing the ministry of water and power, said the machinery for the Nandipur project had been lying at the Karachi port for several months and would not be released unless the letter of landing was issued.


The letter will only be issued after the government releases a sovereign guarantee worth Rs24bn, following approval by the finance ministry and the Economic Coordination Committee.


The counsel said the matter was stuck with the finance ministry. Justice Gulzar Ahmed said the machines must have corroded by now.


The court decided to issue a notice to the finance secretary for May 28 for allegedly causing hurdles in the release of funds.


LPG: In another case filed by Khawaja Asif against the grant of an LPG extraction plant license to the Jamshoro Joint Venture in 2003 in a non-transparent manner, the court ordered the JJVL to deposit 75 per cent of its sale proceeds in the national exchequer immediately after an audit by the chartered accountants A.F. Ferguson and Co.

Courtesy:  Dawn

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