ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Tuesday sought a reply from the federal and Punjab governments regarding zero power generation by the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power and Bhikki power plants.
Taking suo motu notice, the CJP said that the Bhikki Power Plant has not even produced a single megawatt of electricity. He also said that a reply should be given by the Punjab government on the progress of the power companies it built, adding that other cases of power plants mismanagement are emerging as well.
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It may be noted here that the Bhikki power plant along with Haveli Bahadur Shah and Balloki plants had not produced even a single megawatt as they were still “under testing phase” as of May 1, according to the ministry of energy. In addition, new plants at Neelum-Jhelum are still in their testing phase, and not contributing to the national grid, said the ministry in a statement.
Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power Limited is a public-sector for-profit company established by the Punjab government as the first-ever utility-scale solar power plant in 2013. The first unit of the project was inaugurated by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in Bahawalpur and has been completed at a cost of Rs 11 billion. The power plant commenced commercial operation in 2015. It was supposed to be the world’s largest solar energy production plant.
It may be mentioned that the auditor general of Pakistan (AGP) and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had already initiated an investigation pertaining to alleged embezzlement in the construction of the plant. The AGP reportedly found irregularities in the commencement and operation of the company and its various processes which were presented in an audit report for the period 2013-2017.