Awan responsible for delays in power projects: Shaikh

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In its recent meeting held on Wednesday, the federal cabinet was told by Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh that former law minister Babar Awan was responsible for unnecessarily delaying the Law Ministry’s vetting of crucial projects of national significance and it was because of his negligence that two major power projects to be installed in Punjab were delayed.
Pouncing on the chance, most of the cabinet ministers grilled Awan for keeping issues of national significance on the backburner and causing unnecessary delays in energy projects by paying more attention to “other unnecessary issues”, because of which both important power projects in Punjab (in Chichukimaliyan and Nandipur) were delayed, causing the PPP-led government to fall into disrepute.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Nisar Ali Khan and Khawaja Mohammed Asif had time and again blasted the federal government during the previous National Assembly session for using delay tactics to put off both energy projects because they were in Punjab, while the country was facing acute power shortage. Khawaja Asif had even accused the PPP-led government of seeking huge sums of money from the project’s owners and had told the National Assembly that corruption was a major factor that had led to delays in both important projects.
A source told Pakistan Today that during his presentation on energy shortage, Shaikh told the federal cabinet that unnecessary and prolonged delays by the former law minister in awarding no-objection certificates (NoCs) to the projects had cost the country dearly. “As Shaikh made the argument, several federal ministers unleashed a volley of attacks on Babar Awan, telling the cabinet meeting the ordeal they used to face in such incidents. Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar was prompt to support Shaikh, saying that in many cases even the provincial governments had issued NoCs but the Law Ministry did not clear such projects,” said the source.
The source said that some PML-Quaid ministers also supported Khar’s views, with Prime Minister’s Adviser on Human Rights Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar narrating ordeals other ministries faced while seeking NoCs from the Law Ministry. “Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani ordered that in future, no delays should be made by the Law Ministry in vetting of files of large-scale projects and NoCs must be awarded in such cases on a priority basis. He also directed that the provincial governments should be taken on board in case any delay was made so a clear picture comes to the fore and no political point-scoring is done,” the source said.
The source also said Gilani told Water and Power Minister Naveed Qamar to dissolve the Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) by the end of the month and present a detailed plan on financial implications of the sums PEPCO owed to various federal and provincial organisations. The source said Shaikh told the cabinet that provincial governments were reluctant to collect around Rs 300 billion in liabilities from various provincial and federal organisations. “These sums are to be used for making payments to independent power producers, PSO, PEPCO, etc,” said the source.
According to the source, Shaikh said the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) owed Rs 46 billion, The Azad Kashmir government owed Rs 11 billion, Rs 13 billion was payable by the Balochistan government, Rs 12 billion was payable by the Punjab government, Rs 25 billion was owed by Sindh government, Rs 1 billion was owed by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, Rs 12 billion by the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Rs 13 billion by federal government organisations including the Presidency, Prime Minister’s Secretariat and some offices of the armed forces, while Rs 142 billion was payable by private consumers.

6 COMMENTS

  1. We need Ministers like Dr Hafiz to run the government in Pakistan, who boldly accept the responsibility and tell the to masses and people at helm of affairs. Good luck Dr Sheikh Saheb!!!

  2. In this country, no one is ever willing to take the blame, they love making someone else the scapegoat. These government wallahs are the worst of them all, they are incessantly inefficient and are always looking for loopholes.

  3. why dont every one blame the captain of the ship gilani and zardari. babar awan is a CHAMCHA and DARBARI KHUSHAMDI . No one in politicians have love for pakistan and its people. They r in politics like a business. it is time we should stop expecting any good from these LUTERAS.

  4. Very good insider news item. This is how our politicians blow up rival parties' governments at the cost of adding to the peoples' sufferings.

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