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Golen Gol: outgoing ANP senator wants transmission line contract scrapped

ISLAMABAD, Feb 20: In a last ditch efforts to make the Golen Gol power project controversial, the outgoing Awami National Party (ANP) Senator Zahid Khan has ordered the annulment of the contract to lay the transmission line for the 106 MW project worth Rs3.44 billion. zahidSenator Zahid Khan while chairing a meeting of the Senate standing committee on water and power, which was attended by only three members, recommended to annul the contract despite knowing that the meeting lacked quorum. About the ruling of the parliamentary panel which lacked quorum, renowned lawyer Wasim Sajjad said a standing committee cannot annul any ongoing project as it was a recommendatory body and the government was not bound to implement its orders. The meeting, which was presided over by Zahid Khan, was attended by only three members, including the chair, out of its total 14 members. Zahid Khan, who is going to retire next month, issued the orders in haste along with Nisar Mohammad, a PML-N senator, while Senator Khalida Parveen remained tight-lipped. Khawaja Mohammad Asif, federal minister for water and power, and his deputy Abid Sher Ali did not attend the meeting in the aftermath of exchange of hot words between the state minister and Zahid Khan during a recent meeting over petrol crisis. Younus Dagha, additional secretary in-charge ministry of water and power and chairman water and power development authority (Wapda), tried to convince both the “warring” senators that the committee should seek legal opinion from the law and justice ministry and PPRA prior to annulling the transmission line project, as annulment would complicate the matter. But Zahid Khan and Nisar Mohmand rejected the report of Chairman Wapda pertaining to the contract of Golen Gol transmission line project, saying the project was awarded in violation of PPRA rules and other bidders were pressurized to withdraw their bids. Ministry of Water and Power and Wapda maintained that the project was awarded in accordance with PPRA rules. Both the top officials argued that in case the government scraps the project, the firm may seek legal remedy which will delay the project. However, the committee did not pay heed to the suggestion. Senator Zahid Khan said he has already consulted legal minds. “I have taken the decision which cannot be changed now. You do whatever you can,” said Zahid Khan addressing Younus Dagha and Chairman Wapda Zafar Mehmood. The water and power ministry hinted at seeking a legal opinion on the decision of parliamentary panel after it lands in the ministry. The Golen Gol power project is being funded by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) whereas Wapda had awarded the project to M/s Netracon-NEIE/Holley Consortium which is engaged in similar projects in other countries.]]>

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