LAHORE – A desalination plant with a capacity to treat 97 million gallons of water per day is proposed to be set up in Karachi at an estimated cost of $17.5billion. The water will be sold to the Port Qasim Authority (PQA) at the rate of 0.15 cents per gallon. Initially, the agreement will be for 20 years.
The plant is proposed to be set up by a British company - M/S Cook Consulting and Associates - which was set up only a couple of weeks ago. Water to be desalinated will be taken from the Arabian Sea.
It has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the PQA and the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Karachi. Work on the feasibility study is scheduled to start on July 7.
It is alleged that procedure required for such a huge deal is being bypassed, because of which there are suspicions in official quarters about the real aims behind the project. The security agencies also feel upset because they think that the project is not in the country’s interest as it will enable the contractor to monitor the port activities. They think the British intelligence agencies may be involved in the deal.
According to the MoU, Cook Consulting and Associates will design, manufacture, supply, finance, construct, test, commission, train, operate and maintain a customised ready-to-use water treatment plant to supply drinking water to the PQA.
As part of the process in putting together, a DBOT (Design, Build, Operate and Transfer) proposal, the contractor shall prepare a proposal for the DBOT Water Treatment Plant capable to supply drinking water that complies with Pakistan’s environmental laws including feed water analysis and research, projected final water analysis, full process design and flow diagram of the water treatment system, base design and options for expansion, general water plant lay-out drawing, firm capital price and detailed operating costs.
The Cook Consulting and Associates will do all necessary preliminary engineering and feasibility studies necessary to prepare the proposal within 180 days after receiving the MoU and payment.
The main objective of this ‘water treatment’ is to make the PQA the producer of their own drinking water meeting to environmental laws and the Constitution of Pakistan to supply drinking water to the Port Qasim area of Karachi.
The contractor will arrange financing for the plant after receiving all credit documentation required from the PQA. The company shall also provide a performance guarantee on the treated water quality and volume to comply with the Pakistan’s drinking water quality standards.
The contractor will be financing Project Feasibility Report to the tune of $600,000 to increase the comfort level. The PQA will pay $300,000 to the contractor which will be reimbursed to the authority once the final DBOT contract is awarded to Cook Consulting and its Associates. The FPCCI would issue a bank guarantee to PQA for the amount of $300,000 in its equivalent Rupees amount.
The PQA reserves the right to reject the Cook Consulting and Associates’ design, manufacturing, financing, construction, and commissioning proposal or reject any or all proposals, waive any defects or informality therein, accept an alternative proposal and award the contract to the most advantageous offer to the PQA.
It understands that the “initial fee will not be reimbursed, if award goes to a company other than Cook Consulting and Associates within one year, or if the project does not proceed forward for any reason attributable to Port Qasim Authority.”