ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Tuesday fumed over on learning that the federal government had decided to privatize Lakhra Power Plant, ignoring the fact that the litigation about it is pending in the apex court and the plant has been leased out for 20 years to a private company.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was told that Ministry of Water and Power had moved a summary to the Prime Minister for the privatization of two Gencos and two Discos and the premier had endorsed it.

During the proceedings, Hassan Aurangzeb, counsel for Habibullah Energy Limited, while arguing his case said that the legal consultant of the Privatization Commission informed him that a decision has been taken to privatize two Gencos, including Lakhra Power Plant, and two Discos.

The court directed Acting Secretary Ministry of Water and Power Saifullah Chattha to put up a statement in writing so that they may incorporate his stand in the instant order.

According to the documents presented before the court, the Ministry of Water and Power on July 17, 2013 had moved a summary to the PM for the privatization of two Gencos - Muzaffargarh Thermal Power Station, (installed capacity 1350 MW) and Lakhra Power Plant (150 MW), and two Discos - Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (FESCO) and Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) and Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif approved the summary on 27th July.

Coal fired Power Plant, based in Lakhra coalfield, Dadu District of Sindh, has three units, each installed capacity is 50 MW. But the plant presently has been producing only 30 MW. In 2006 it was leased out to M/s Associated Power Generation Company Limited for 20 years. Labour Union of the plant and M/s Habibullah Energy after the agreement moved the Sindh High Court, which gave decision in favour of Associated Group. The Labour Union and M/s Habibullah filed the appeals against SHC order in the Supreme Court, which is still pending.

Hearing the case, the chief justice inquired from Additional Attorney General (AAG) Shah Khawar about the development, based on the documentary evidence. He stated that after hearing on 19th August on his own he contacted Saifullah for getting fresh instructions.

The AAG further said that the secretary did not tell him about the latest development except saying he would contact to the Minister and the Chairman for Water and Power and then come back to him.

Similarly, Shahid Hamid, counsel for Wapda, stated that he had no knowledge about the decision taken by the Prime Minister on privatization of the said Gencos and Discos.

Upon that the bench summoned the Water and Power Secretary. He appearing before the bench stated that the summaries, presented before the Court, upon that PM took decision he sent to the prime minister. When the bench inquired; “Whether he shared that information with the AAG or with counsel appearing for Wapda. He candidly conceded that these facts were not brought into their notice.”

Saifullah, however, stated that when the AAG contacted him he could not understand about the information, which he wanted to inquire from him. The court directed him to put up a statement in writing so that they may incorporate his stand in the instant order.

However, the statement as required by the Secretary Water and Power has not been filed till the court timing. Therefore, the secretary, through the AAG, was directed to do the needful during the course of the day enabling the Court to incorporate his statement in the instant order as it is to be read out the part of this Order.

The chairman NEPRA as per the bench direction calculated the price of bids offered by the appellants and the respondents. According to him the electricity from the plant to NTDC could be sold at Rs6.50. The case was adjourned till 21st August 2013.