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Chinese firm’s plea against re-tendering of Lawi power project dismissed

PESHAWAR, Nov 22: The Peshawar High Court has dismissed two identical petitions of a Chinese construction company against the re-tendering of two hydropower projects in Swat and Chitral districts by the Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organisation (Pedo). phcBesides ordering the dismissal of the petitions of Sinotech Consortium Limited, a bench comprising Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel and Justice Mohammad Ghazanfar Khan also ordered vacation of the stay order issued against the re-tendering in June this year. The petitioner had claimed it was the lowest bidder for the engineering, procurement and construction of Lawi Hydropower Project (HPP) in Chitral and Gorkin-Matiltan Hydropower Project in Swat, but instead of awarding it the contracts, the Pedo published advertisements to retender those projects. It had requested the court to declare the retendering for the projects illegal and order acceptance of its bids. The petitioner’s lawyer said Lawi HPP was meant to generate 69 megawatt of electricity, whereas the Gorkin-Matiltan HPP would produce 85MW electricity. He said for the Gorkin-Matiltan HPP, four bids were received including that of Rs16.2 billion from Sinotech, which was the lowest. The lawyer said for the Lawi HPP, three bids were received including that of Rs17.86 billion from his client, which was also the lowest. He said his client was a well-reputed company and had in the past carried out several projects in different fields including hydro power generation. The lawyer said the Pedo in illegal manner did not go ahead with awarding contracts and instead retendered the two projects wherein it had fixed July 24 for submission of fresh bids. He said the bids of his client were rejected on flimsy grounds as the government wanted to award the contract to another firm of its choice. Shumail Ahmad Butt, lawyer for the provincial government, said the chief minister had received several complaints about non-transparent manner in which the first bidding had taken place due to which he constituted a three members inquiry committee for looking into the matter. He said the committee comprised the law and finance secretaries and the vice chairman of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Board of Investment. Butt said the committee gave its findings, wherein it had been mentioned that the earlier bidding process was not transparent. He said his client had concealed facts from the government and had also given misstatement regarding its previous working experience. The lawyer said in light of the findings of the committee, the Pedo had given advertisements calling for fresh bids for the engineering, procurement and construction of the two projects. He defended the case on several factual and legal grounds and highlighted the role of the chief minister and Pedo and their powers. The lawyer said the two projects were of immense importance for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and were collectively worth over Rs40 billion and that was the reason for the provincial government being very cautious in awarding contracts. He said the competency of his client was questionable for carrying out massive projects.]]>

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