ISLAMABAD - Raising serious concern over the privatisation agreement of Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) inked so far by the government, a special committee earlier constituted by the Senate Standing Committee on Water & Power, Monday recommended the government to take over the power utility immediately and form a judicial commission to probe the losses and to review implementation of the agreement.
The Senate panel hold a meeting under the chair Senator Zahid Khan on Monday in the premises of parliament house. Besides recommending the government to take over the power company, the Senate panel also decided to see a written report on under construction of projects of water & power, agriculture, construction of dams, delay in the issuance of funds. The panel also decided to organise a special meeting to review the affairs of National Transmission Dispatch Company (NTDC.
During the course of this meeting, a sub committee earlier constituted under Senator Shahi Syed to see the issues of KESC has submitted its report, which has been approved by the Senate panel. The sub committee was comprised of Senator Shahi Syed, Senator Nisar Muhammad Khan, Senator Humayoon Khan Mandokhel. The sub committee in its report has established that the KESC remained fail in providing electricity to the consumers from last eight years as per agreement and the company is still getting 650mw electricity on low rates from the NTDC.
The sub-committee in its report has declared that the agreement inked between the government and the Al-Jomiah Group for the privatisation of KESC and the amendments made in the agreement after 2005 were illegal and Rs72 billion worthy financial assistance to the power utility was illegally done. Billion of rupees worth benefits were given to the power company under cover of these amendments while the government had paid Rs31 billion outstanding arrears of the power company from national kitty. Again, power-distributing companies (Discos) had to pay Rs13 billion high outstanding dues of the company.
Expressing its deep reservation over giving undue favours to the power utility, the sub committee in its report on the KESC said that Rs32crore heavy tax of the company was waived off while 650mw per day of the electricity was given to the company on low rates due to which the government had to face a heavy loss worth Rs110 billion. And, approval to supply 650mw of power to the company was given merely by the ministry of water & power, as the nod of Prime Minister was not secured even not sought which is against the rules and regulations.
The committee report also said that the agreement signed with Al-Jomiah in 2009 was illegal as no consent of federal cabinet was sought while Rs46 billion arrears are still lying pending with the company. And, the KESC did not invest as per the agreement.
According to recommendations of the sub committee report, the government should take over the KESC immediately and it should also form a judicial commission to probe the agreement.
The government should withdraw the facilities/favours that are continuously being given to the company from 2005. More, criminal cases should be registered against all those officials found involve in ensuring illegal benefits to the power utility while bail out package for a private firm was illegal.
Making mockery of the agreement, the KESC administration suspended employees of power utility and appointed 10 thousand new employees on the slot vacated following the suspension of large number of company’s employees. The committee also recommended reinstating the services of all suspended employees of the KESC and necessary measures should also be taken to collect the arrears of suspended employees. Restoration of labour unions and allow them all (labour unions) to work for the rights of labourers. Senator Zahid Khan deplored that cost of mega projects has escalated only because of lack of coordination, cooperation among concerned officials of different departments and also due to their alleged connivance with ‘commission mafia’. He also said that only 30 per cent payment of the total budget of the canal project has been given for the Kachhi canal which is under construction.
The senate panel has also raised concerns over undue delay in the completion of hydel power projects.
Chairman Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) while briefing the Senate panel said that delayed payment has become the sole reason in the delayed completion of hydel projects. And, Planning Commission (PC) is responsible for this undue delay in the payments of the hydel power projects.
It is to note here that exchange of harsh words between PPP Senator Maula Bukhsh Chandio and State Minister for Water & Power Chaudry Abid Sher Ali also took place during the course of Senate panel meeting.
Besides this, according to the Senate secretariat, a briefing on the assistance of World Bank in water and power, briefing of National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) on the solar energy, and a decision of the Supreme Court on Larkana power project would come under discussion during today’s scheduled meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Water and Power.
Senator Maula Bukhsh Chandio, Senator Humayoon Khan Mandokhel, Senator Shahi Syed, Senator Saif Ullah Magsi, Senator Rafiq Rajwana, Senator Maulana Bdul Ghafoor Haidri, and chairman WAPDA Syed Raghib Hussain Shah, General Manager NTDC Qamar Iqbal Bhatti were in attendance along with officials of finance and power ministries.