‘WAPDA has no powers to deal with such issues’

ISLAMABAD: Senate Committee Water and Power on Tuesday made it clear Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) has no powers to deal with the ongoing water disputes among the provinces and recommended to nullify the order of Power Minister Khawaja Muhmmad Asif, which he made earlier in this very regard.
Seriously perturbed over the absence of minister and secretary WAPDA from the meeting, Senate Standing Committee met under the chair Zahid Khan expressed grave concern. The meeting was held to discuss and review the matter pertaining to dismissal of those officials who remained successful in grabbing extensions after getting retirement from the power distributing companies (Discos). Earlier, senate panel recommended removal of all such officials.
Managing Director Pakistan Electric Power Company Imran Ahmad, present on the occasion disclosed chief executive officers (CEOs) of Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) and GEPCO (Gujranwala Electric Power Company) were enjoying extension over recommendations of board of directors (BoDs) of the two Discos.
Upon this, Senator Zahid Khan stated giving extension to officials who had reached on the age of superannuation is altogether contradictory to the order of Supreme Court (SC), which SC gave earlier to stop giving extensions to retired officials on senior slots.
We will discuss in detail the powers of BoDs of the two Discos and the order of the apex court during the next meeting regarding giving extensions to the senior officials, Zahid Khan said.
Raising serious voice over an order of Khawaja Muhammad Asif regarding giving new assignment to WAPDA, senators termed it unconstitutional.
Khawaja Asif has recently given WAPDA a new assignment asking it to coordinate with and remove complaints of provinces facing water issues.
Member committee Maula Bukhsh Chandio said Asif has given this statement only to hide his failure, while there was Indus River System Authority (IRSA) to resolve water distribution issues of the provinces. He proposed a clarification in this regard be sought from the chairman of IRSA. Kawaja Asif has triggered controversies over the resolved issues while he made this statement only to get resolve misunderstandings on water disputes, Chandio said.
Zahid Khan a stalwart of Awami National Party said, “WAPDA has no powers to resolve water disputes of the provinces”.
On finding difference of opinion on power minister’s statement, the senate panel recommended to Khawaja Asif to make an end to his one of the ‘controversial’ order.
Zafar Mehmood Chairman WAPDA informed the meeting telemetry system- devise to measure the flow of water has gone out of order. He said WAPDA was interested to cooperate, help and assist IRSA to make the system functional.
Talking about Neelum-Jehlum Hydropower Project (NJHP), chairman said it was faced with scarcity of funds, while CEO of the NJHP Zubair Ahmad said 64 percent work of the project has been completed as around Rs 37 billion has been spent during the last financial year 2013-14.
He said 74 percent work on the dam site, while digging of tunnel on 6.7 kilometers has been completed. Around Rs 37billion more will be required to finalise the NJHP during the ongoing fiscal year, Ahmad said.
He told the meeting the Export-Import Bank of China (China Exim Bank) has assured provision of $300 million while the masses were paying Rs 6 billion annually for the project through their monthly power bills.

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