As long as all the affairs of generation and distribution of power were under the control of Wapda, the problems of load shedding or inflated bills never acquired the current prominent proportions to create tensions for the government or a common man. The electricity tariff remained cheap as in paisa’s/unit and WAPDA was still a profitable entity. Due to the sound goodwill and credibility of Wapda, all the world financial organizations were eagerly funding the development projects with soft loans having interest rate as below as 1%.

Wapda, an autonomous body, was formed in 1958 to develop water and power resources to cater to the requirements of the country. In 1958, electricity was a luxury item available in few areas of main cities at relatively very high rates. Wapda starting from scratch, achieved commendable progress through untiring efforts of its expert engineers and establishment constructed power houses and developed an integrated power system of transmission lines and grid stations up to the voltage level of 500 kV from North to South of the country. Wapda developed a complete infrastructure and the expertise for installation, running and maintenance of the power system and the power houses.

In 1992, the politicians on the advice of ambitious bureaucrats decided on the installation of the power houses in the private sector. WAPDA was prohibited to start new projects of P/H’s. All the matters regarding approval of installation as well as grant of exorbitantly lucrative tariffs of purchase from IPP’s was processed and evaluated by politicians and the Non-Technical bureaucrats blinded by their own benefits and those of the private companies with ulterior motives .The figures had just gotten ratified by corrupt Wapda officers after preparation of concerned agreements. The highly inflated purchase tariff from the private companies was evaluated on the following unreasonable considerations.

a. Approval of IPP’s was granted to the favorite firms, with the capital cost of the projects assumed excessively on the higher side (Over invoicing of about 100%) without competitive bidding. The expenditures were companies’ liability but it was main factor to contribute towards increasing the unit cost. The capital cost was not even compared with those of the projects completed previously by Wapda.

b. The private enterprises secured commercial loans from the banks at much higher interest rates of over 8.0 % as compared to 1 % obtained by Wapda from international funding Organizations (New projects of P/H’s being included in the Chinese Economic Corridor program are said to be started with loans from Chinese banks at an interest rate of 18%. If so, can you imagine the consequences and disaster that will follow?).

c. The profit margin of the companies as per their balance sheets is from 27% to37%, whereas Wapda was working at par, without consideration of profit.

Since 1996 the IPP’s have taken away billions of dollars more than 10 times of their investments out of our country, thanks to valuable remittances by our labor working abroad.

The downfall of WAPDA started in 1996; the day the first IPP project was inducted in the power system. At this stage Wapda had enough spare capacity to cater for the requirements of the country. It had to shut down its own P/H’s to avoid capacity charges of IPP’s. All the resources of Wapda were exhausted to feed these Blue eyed companies. Suddenly, it slumped into loss and in spite of increasing its sale tariff to the present day value (probably highest in the world and beyond purchase power of a common man), Wapda (PEPCO) is running on the subsidy being provided the Government.

The Politicians after destroying our system of P/H’s, are now keenly impatient to dispose off power distribution companies to their cronies.

Are they ignorant of the working conditions of Karachi Electric and other power companies which were earlier taken over by Wapda when they failed to deliver? Wapda, a statutory autonomous body, is always independent to take and implement its decisions. Politicians as well as the bureaucrats destroyed organization of power Sector of Wapda with the intentions of its privatization and placed under the control of the Ministry run by Non-Technical personals.

The menace of load shedding is not all due to the shortfall in the generation capacity. Rather it is because of unavailability of FOREX for import of fuel. Some of the thermal power houses are shutdown to reduce the cost of generation to control the circular debt. These are only fired on special occasions.

Neither the menace of load shedding nor the inflation of electricity tariff can ever be controlled with the present measures being taken by the government as these are based on availability of FOREX. Only indigenous resources of fuel are required to be harnessed to meet our demand of power. Hydro Power houses and those run by Thar coal are the only solution to the problem.

Kala Bagh Dam is the most viable project and vital for the economy of the country to overcome shortfall of water and power. It is the last feasible site on river Indus after which the river enters the plain area. The reservoir of the dam will be filled with the waters from rivers of Indus, Kabul, Swat, Swan and the rains in catchment area of upper Punjab. Thus, it will contribute towards maximum generation of energy and water for irrigation. No other dam up side of Turbela may be Dasu or Diamir can match the utility of KBD as these will depend on inflows from river Indus only limited to particularly high inflow period of summer. If we plan one mega dam after every ten years there will be no load shedding. Even our railway will run on electricity.

Potential energy of water is no less valuable than oil or any other fuel, and has being wasted since decades, besides the menace of floods being faced all over the country. The cost of wastage of water fuel is about 2.5 Billion Dollars of FOREX yearly (overall $50 Billion so far since 1986) besides far more loss of precious water contribution towards irrigation (power is only a byproduct of the dam). Further consequences of the delay of the project are that all the competent engineers, who participated in construction of mega dams of Mangla and Turbela have since retired or died. Now we shall again be dependent on foreign experts.

This dam is another victim of vicious and unscrupulous intervention of the politicians. They are lured by oil mafia; gimmicks of IPP’s and the funding across the border are all out working against the vital interests of the country. It may be kept in mind that the oil mafia, which is main hurdle to construction of the dam, is not a foreign element. It is rather, found in the highest tiers of our politicians and bureaucrats. Billions of rupees are said to be distributed among them collected from the underhand gains, due to the import of oil and fixation of its retail price in the country.

The work of design and construction of 425 MW P/H Nandipur power house was awarded to Chinese firm for Rs. 23 Billion as according to the bid submitted by the Company. The work was started in June 2008 and by mid-2010, 70% of the work was complete and equipment worth $ 85 million reached in Karachi. The cost of the equipment must have been paid as it is always shipped on opening of L.C. Then red tape prevailed and the equipment remained struck at Karachi port for two years. In June2013 the work on the project was started after hasty and malicious negotiations by the present regime, with the cost shooting to Rs.58 Billion (Rs.85 B also being quoted). The project being already 70% complete and the machinery worth $ 85 M received (Only 10-20% of it may have been destroyed), such abnormal increase in the cost, in no case, can be justified. It is really a dirty deal. It cannot be termed merely as negligence or irregularity but it is a crime as to why competent persons were not involved in the negotiation.

In the end I would submit a mercy appeal to the politicians to stop their direct intervention in the highly technical matters and let proper personnel do the job in all the organizations. The work of construction of power houses may be entrusted back to Wapda(not PEPCO) which is created for this purpose. They will be saved from lamentation being thrown upon them. They must carry out respectable job of surveillance of all the projects. All Wapda people are not guaranteed to be honest but they are bound by rules and regulation and accountable to large numbers of agencies. Whereas the politicians are immune to any type of accountability process, rather they are Insurance policies of each other.

Immediate decision on construction of Kalabagh Dam is required to be taken, in the best interests of the nation. One dam, after every ten years is required to be constructed to meet the future demands of the country.