Delay in completion of power generation projects

Do not transfer officials for 2 years, suggests Senate body

* Committee says transfer of Ministry of Water and Power’s officials causing unnecessary delay in completion of projects

* Also recommends reducing time period for power tariff determination

By Ijaz Kakakhel

ISLAMABAD, November 06, 2012: To resolve power crisis on emergency basis, the Senate’s Standing Committee on Water and Power on Monday recommended the government that the secretary and other senior officials of the Ministry of Water and Power and the heads of its attached departments should not be transferred as it causes delay in the completion of power generation projects.

The chairman of the committee Senator Zahid Khan said power projects were delayed for years and there is confrontation among different organisations of the ministry. Determining power tariff for different hydel projects by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority were delayed for a long period of time, which resulted in severe power crisis in the country. Our main problem can be resolved through hydel projects not thermal power projects, which generate very expensive power in the country. After Tarbela and Mangla dams, nothing has been added to the hydel sector of the country.

The committee chairman recommended the government not to transfer any senior officials of the Ministry of Water and Power for at least two years so that net results could be achieved. He also directed the ministry’s secretary to stop extension of senior officials under the Supreme Court’s directives. Such type of extension creates uncertainty among officials of the ministry, who are waiting for promotion. The committee also directed the secretary to send a summary to the prime minister and the cabinet to minimise tariff determination time from four months so that projects may be completed quickly.

Ministry of Water and Power Secretary Nargis Sethi told the committee no sincere efforts were made in last 25 years to address the power crisis in the country. Efforts were made only to generate expensive power in the country. Our lifeline is hydel projects, for which no sincere efforts were made. The consumption pattern of power increases in the country at a very high speed while generation could not be made in the same momentum.

She said that restructuring within the Ministry of Water and Power initiated and distributed burden equally among all senior officials. I have inducted three new joint secretaries and have given them separate tasks, which will help the ministry to speed up the work. The secretary assured the committee that summary of time period for power tariff determination will be sent to the cabinet and prime minister.

She assured the committee that no extension will be given to any officials, however, if recommendation (sent by any high ups) it would be presented in front of the committee. She also informed the committee that the matter of funds for hydel power projects was discussed with the World Bank officials. The government has decided to start those hydel projects for which finances are available. She said if finance is available for Dasoo project, it will be started. “I have started video conferences with all DISCOs and also started visiting provinces to deal with power crisis on priority basis,” the secretary maintained.

Ministry of Water and Power Additional Secretary Hamayatullah told the committee that the government has decided that only those hydel projects will be started for which financing would be available in the country. He said the World Bank has also provided $500 million for initiating Dasoo Hydel Power Project.

The Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) chairman informed the committee a total of 22 new private power projects were being processing. The PPIB took six months time for checking feasibility of a project and six more months for another work. The PPIB is also making a report, showing potential hydel projects across the country, he maintained. Some private projects are delayed due to law and order situation in the country.

Currently, the PPIB chairman said 14 hydel projects are in hand, out of which four are in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), eight in AJK and one project in Islamabad. These projects after completion will generate 5,416 megawatts hydel power in the national grid station.

The WAPDA chairman informed the committee that Gomal Zam Dam would start power generation from December 2012. The NEPRA chairman said initially time period for power tariff determination was six months, which reduced to four months. Currently, only four projects are with us for determining power tariff.

The NTDC chairman Musadiq told the committee that there are several departments within NTDC but they don’t have any coordination. Steps should be taken to improve the situation.



Courtesy: Daily Times

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