ISLAMABAD - A parliamentary committee Thursday observed that the country suffered billions of rupees loss due to both WAPDA and NESPAK in the Mangla Dam Raising Project.

The cancellation of contracts for one company, in the projects related to Mangla Dam Raising Project, and awarding it to the new contractor caused a loss of Rs 4 billion to the national exchequer, said the members of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Reforms here. The committee met here under the chairmanship of Abdul Majeed Khan Khanan Khail, MNA.

The committee discussed the issue related to Mangla Dam Raising Project (MRDP), the acquisition of land (on lease etc), cancellation of contract and cost increase of the project. The committee raised questions about the cancellation of the contract (M/s KKP) which has caused billions of rupees extra loss to the nation.

The committee further observed that besides WAPDA, the consultant of the project NESPAK is equally responsible for the loss as they have failed to make the design of the project on time.

The representative of M/s KKP blamed that their contract was cancelled, unilaterally, on 24-hour notice. The representative of the KKP construction company informed the committee that, after the termination of their contract, the work of 120 million was handed over to a new company at Rs 1500 million.

The contractor blamed NESPAK, which is doing consultancy of the project, for not completing the design work of the project on time, adding that the design work was not ready even after two years of the termination of their contract. The committee noted that NESPAK people are inefficient and their inefficiency is causing delay in the projects.

The committee was informed that WAPDA has lost the case, with PKK, twice in arbitration and spent millions of rupees on the arbitrators, who were the ex-employees of the WAPDA.

Chaudhry Jafar Iqbal said: “We need to fix the responsibility as besides increasing the cost of the project, millions of rupees were paid in litigations”. WAPDA official said that 24 notices were issued to the KPP as they were moving very slow. The company was supposed to complete its projects till 2008 but it had completed only 25 percent on the project till the time. Finally in 2009 WAPDA cancelled its contract, WAPDA official added.

Chairman of the committee said that it seems the problem is with consultant not contractor and they have caused delay to the projects. NESPAK is taking money in advance from the government but is doing nothing, Abdul Majeed Khan Khanan Khail said. The official of NESPAK said that they haven’t received any money for the said project.

To NESPAK claim, chairman committee responded that this is good that they did not pay because you don’t deserve to be paid. “In my opinion all the money should be shifted to the government of Pakistan account from the NESPAK account,” he added.

The committee observed that a loss of 4 billion was incurred to the national exchequer. Interestingly when Joint Secretary Water and Power Syed Mehr Ali Shah was enquired about the approval for the new cost of the project, he said ECNEC has approved the project but later divulged that ministry has just submitted the summary and it was not approved. Apparently, the contract was awarded by WAPDA without the prior approval of ministries of Water and Power, planning and ECNEC.

Joint Secretary Water and Power, Syed Mehr Ali Shah informed the committee that this is routine matter of WAPDA that they award the contract first and take the approval later. “We have called an explanation from WAPDA on the issue of not taking prior approval from the ministry,” he added.

The Committee directed that all related documents for the revised PC-I for Mangla Raising Project may be provided and along with approval of ECNEC. The xommittee directed that the WAPDA must provide all documents regarding the cancellation of seven contracts of Mangla Raising Project.

WAPDA officials said that the delay is now being caused by the non-payment of funds by the Planning Commission and since 2013 they have made no payment to the contractors of the project.The officials of the planning commission  said that they have already made a payment of Rs 92 billion to WAPDA and they cannot pay more as they need to take permission for the extra payment.

The total cost of the project was Rs 101 billion out of which Rs 18 billion was interest during construction, which means the total amount for civil work was Rs 83 billion. The committee also take notice of the appointment of agriculture engineer Manzoor Ali as a project manager for Mangla Raising Project and said that how can you hand over a project worth Rs 101 billion to an agriculture engineer? Chairman of the committee directed to get the syllabus for the agriculture engineer from the Higher Education Commission.

Chief Water Planning Commission said that flaws in the project are due to the hiring of irrelevant person to the post of project manager, project. Project management has become a discipline and in Pakistan there are a lot of people educated in that discipline, he said, adding that making agriculture engineer a project manager is questionable. He requested the committee to make it compulsory that only the people with project management credential will be appointed as project managers.

The committee directed Secretary Water and Power, Chairman WAPDA and MD NESPAK to ensure their presence in the meeting which will held on May 13 (today), otherwise committee will take strict action against them.  Regarding seepage in the Mangla dam, the committee was informed that there is seepage issue of Mangla Dam but it is not dangerous.