ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan Wednesday referred the matter of contract for construction of Winder Dam in Balochistan to dispute resolution committee (DRC).

A two-member bench of the apex court comprising Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin conducted hearing of an appeal of Secretary Irrigation Balochistan against the Balochistan High Court (BHC) decision on auction of Winder Dam contract.

The BHC had ordered for an open auction for awarding the construction project of the dam. The top court of country asked the committee to hear Construction Association of Pakistan, a private company. It said that if the construction company is not satisfied with the committee’s decision then it can again approach the apex court. The company’s counsel informed the bench that the dam project could only be awarded to a company which already had experience of constructing dams. However, the authorities violated this rule and rejected offers of top 10 companies. He said that they had challenged the awarding of contract to company, which has no experience.

The lawyer contended that the government engineers themselves said that the rules were violated in awarding of contract. They added that transparency not maintained while awarding the contract.

Delay in project can raise cost from Rs10b to Rs50b, remarks top court

Justice Qazi Amin remarked that in mega projects the government does work according to its own understanding. He told the counsel that on the transparency issue they are with him but due to delays the cost of the projects would increase. “The delay in the project could soar the cost from Rs10 billion to Rs50 billion,” remarked Justice Qazi Amin.

The counsel said that to award the contract to company which has no experience of constructing dams would be dangerous. It is pertinent to mention here that for construction of Winder Dam, the tender of the project was opened on September 28, 2009, and awarded to a joint venture of Canadian and Pakistani consultants and contractors. Due to failure of the contractor to provide performance guarantee, the contract was cancelled.

An earth-core rock-fill dam will create gross storage of 36,484-acre-feet of water to irrigate 10,000 acres of command area and its power house will generate 300 KW electricity.

Winder Dam project will now be constructed at the cost of Rs15.230 billion. The federal government will finance the project entirely, which would be executed by the Irrigation Department of Balochistan government.

The main objective of the project is to provide 50 cusecs assured irrigation water supply to irrigate 10,000 acres of agriculture land round the year with average cropping intensity of 82 per cent.

Winder Dam located across Winder River about 100 km from Karachi in Lasbela District of Balochistan will also generate 0.3 megawatts of electricity.