- CCI unanimously decides exemplary punishment in Kacchi Canal case
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif while chairing a meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) here on Tuesday directed completion of all projects within approved costs and scheduled timeline ensuring utmost transparency.
He gave the directive during the CII meeting which was attended by Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Sindh Chief Minister Muraz Ali Shah, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak and Balochistan Chief Minister Snaullah Zehri.
During previous tenures, the development projects did not complete in time and the cost over-run was a routine matter, Prime Minister Nawaz said. On the occasion, the Inter-Provincial Coordination Division secretary briefed the meeting regarding implementation status of decisions taken in the last CCI meeting held on December 16, 2016.
Considering the inquiry into corruption charges in the Kacchi Canal case, the council unanimously decided that exemplary punishment be accorded to all the officials involved in the case. Earlier, the council constituted a four-member committee under the chairmanship of former chief justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani to investigate irregularities and corruption in the Kachhi Canal project
Former secretaries Dr Waqar Masood Khan and Yousuf Naseem Khokar and Water and Power secretary Muhammad Younus Dagha were members of the committee, which held former WAPDA chairman Zulfiqar Ali Khan, officials of Water and Power Ministry, Planning Commission and the WAPDA as responsible of irregularities and corruption that caused Rs 26 billion loss to national exchequer.
The project was originally designed to meet the irrigation requirements of Balochistan and was part of the Vision 2025. According to a copy of the inquiry report, the 500 kilometres long Kachhi Canal project, which was started in 2002, is still under construction, while the construction work was initiated without feasibility study. The WAPDA awarded the contract in wrong manners, it said.
Similarly, cost of the project surged from Rs 31 billion to Rs 76 billion however, the project remained incomplete and still under construction due to the ignorance of the officials and ministries concerned. Also, cost of the project has once again increased to Rs 102 billion. There is no implementation in maintaining required standards mentioned in the planning, designing, and construction of the project.
Besides, WAPDA has now assured to complete the Kachhi Canal project by December 2017. The command area of the project upon completion is Jaffarbad, Dera Murad Jamali, Naseerabad and Kachhi. On completion, the project is expected to augur well for removal of inter-provincial mistrusts and national integration, the inquiry report said.
During the Tuesday meeting, the CCI directed all provincial representatives to hold meeting with the Planning and Development minister to finalise matters pertaining to higher education and other similar bodies in post 18th amendment scenario.
The council approved the financing of the National Flood Protection Plan phase-IV at an overall cost of Rs 177.661 billion on 50/50 share basis by the federal government and the provincial governments. For the agenda item of import of LNG, it was decided that the summary would be circulated to all provinces for soliciting comments and be presented in the next meeting.
The council expressed satisfaction over the sixth population and housing census. The Ministry of Finance assured that the census would be completed within the scheduled timeline with utmost transparency. The Ministry of Climate Change briefed the meeting that detailed consultations on National Forest Policy 2015 had been completed with all provinces.
The policy only provides for additional federal technical and expert advice as well as coordination with international forums with whom Pakistan is signatory to international protocols and agreements. Forests, itself being a provincial subject, shall remain under control of provincial governments for the purposes of implementation.
The Water and Power minister informed the council that issues regarding settlement of net hydel profit (NHP) between WAPDA and the Punjab government had been settled wherein WAPDA had issued a promissory note in favour of the provincial government amounting to Rs 38.12 billion while a tariff petition is under review for filing with NEPRA for recovery of the profit arrears.
The council approved amendments in the Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power Act, 1997.