Two energy projects stalled for years, Rs 113bn in loss : SC seeks report

-File photo

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought a report from Pepco, Genco and Secretary Ministry of Water and Power on Nandipur and the Chichu Ki Maliyan power projects to determine whether or not any action was taken against those who were responsible for causing a loss of Rs 113 billion to the national exchequer by delaying necessary approval for the projects.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Asif had filed a petition urging the court to identify those responsible for delaying the execution of the two projects. A single-member commission of former Justice Rehmat Hussain Jafri was formed who ruled in its 94-page report that negligence on the part of executive authorities of the federal law ministry caused the delay.

Jafri also held that inordinate delays in the installation of 425-megawatt combined cycle power plant in Nandipur (Gujranwala) and 595MW Chichu Ki Maliyan caused a loss of Rs 113 billion to the national kitty.

During the course of hearing of the petition, a three-member bench of the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry expressed annoyance over the absence of former Federal Law Minister Dr Babar Awan and Secretary Pir Masood Chishti who were summonedby the court.

At the outset of hearing, the Chief Justice observed that courts “do not make any arrests” but Federal Investigation Agency could be directed to take action, adding that the Federal Law Ministry should serve notices on Babar Awan and Chishti, asking them to appear before the court.

The counsel for Pepco and Genco Abbas Mirza told the bench that banks had not released funds because of non-issuance of bill of lading. He also submitted that negotiations with a Chinese company were under way to revive the projects.

The Chief Justice observed that no progress had been made in the instant matter and directed the counsel for Pepco and Genco to categorically inform the court whether or not action had been taken so far. “Prima facie we think a considerable loss to the national kitty was done whereas no serious progress was shown even knowing the fact that the country is passing through the energy crisis,” the Chief Justice noted in the order.

The petitioner contended that the machinery of the projects lying at Karachi port had turned into scrap and blamed the law ministry for not clearing the extension of sovereign guarantee by the finance ministry for the projects.

Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh observed: “There are no free lunches in the world so there would be consequence of not materializing the Nandipur and the Chichu Ki Maliyan power projects.”

Later, the hearing was adjourned till Nov 8.

Khudayar Mohla.

Copyrights Business Recorder.