LAHORE - The water and power ministry is all set to remove National Transmission and Dispatch Company chief in the wake of two major electricity blackouts within a week, reliable sources told The Nation.

They said that the Ministry sent the summary to remove Engineer Muhammad Arshad Chaudhry to the prime minister.

The government had appointed Chaudhry as Managing Director of NTDCL in February 2015 following removal of Tahir Mahmood on the same issue.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had suspended Tahir and General Manager National Power Control Centre (NPCC) Muhammad Saleem for their failure to take timely measures to avert country-wide power blackout in 2015.

Sources said that internal Inquiry Committee set up at ministry level held Arshad and some other top officials responsible for the shutdown.

“Top officials fail to take prompt action after the first countrywide failure in power on Jan 15,” sources said. The prime minister is in Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum session and the final decision will be made by him after his return to the country, they added.

The country witnessed hours-long electricity breakdowns when a major transmission line near Muzaffargarh tripped on Jan 15 morning at around 9.30am.

The exact reason behind the tripping is yet to be known, but some officials state the circuit failure and up and down in electricity frequency resulted into the fault. Exact after six days, on Jan 21, the country suffered the second major power breakdown Thursday afternoon, leaving many cities, towns and villages in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Jammu and Kashmir without electricity for hours.

Some officials say the NTDCL transmission system is still weak and unable to sustain pressure of demand and generation gap. Though the company took some measures to improve the system after last year’s repeated three major blackouts, but it still needs improvement.

The NTDCL had developed zones system (North and South) to cope with any kind of emergency.

The prime minister after removal of former NTDCL MD in 2015 had ordered a thorough inquiry against him but it could not be initiated.

The NTDCLs Board of Directors had also asked the Water and Power Ministry to conduct a thorough inquiry against the company’s former managing director who was suspended by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. But the then Water and Power Secretary forwarded the case of restoration of the ex-MD NTDC Tahir Mehmood to the board. Later, the inquiry was stopped.

The sources said that no further actions could be expected against the top officials who held responsible for the blackouts but the prime minister would sign the summary of the their removal.

The ministry spokesperson did not attend the phone when contacted to get version on the story.

INP adds: The Prime Minister House has denied reports that PM Nawaz Sharif has dissolved the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) Board under Ministry of Water and Power.

In a clarification statement on Friday, the PM House spokesperson said media reports regarding dissolution of NTDC Board were baseless. Neither any suggestion to dissolve the Board was under consideration, he clarified.