ISLAMABAD: The government is making efforts to recover $51 million from the contractor of Tarbela-4 Extension Hydropower Project, an amount the authorities gave as an incentive for early completion.
The government spent the substantial amount of taxpayers’ money to the contractor under an accelerated plan meant to keep PML-N’s promise of ending load-shedding by the 2018 general elections. Ironically, however, the contractor has refused meeting the deadline, resulting in the government now looking to recover the amount.
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“The issue regarding payment to the contractor for early completion of the project ($51 million) by June 2017 was required to be settled. Despite having received the payment, the contractor did not live up to his commitment; therefore, measures for the recovery of the payment should be explored,” said the secretary to Prime Minister in a high-level meeting held on September 15.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) chairman to take necessary measures for the recovery of $51 million payment made to the contractor.
The Wapda chairman updated participants on the progress made so far on Tarbela-4 Extension Hydropower Project. “The three units of 470MW each with a total capacity of 1,410MW are being installed on T-4 tunnel, which would enhance the total capacity of Tarbela to 4,888MW from the earlier capacity of 3,487MW,” he said.
The meeting was further informed that the original timeline for the completion of the project was February 2018, however, for accelerated completion (June 2017) a variation order was signed and payment made to the contractor. Despite this incentive given by the government, the contractor has refused to complete the project by the given date.
The reasons for the delay in the project, according to the Wapda chairman, include late decision-making by project authorities, geological compulsions, unexpected water flow and poor management and execution by consultants.
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Furthermore, he informed the meeting that he had been working on the finalisation of the coordinated schedule and item-wise monitoring of the project, assuring that with these measures the first unit of the project would be ready for inauguration by August 14, 2017.
Earlier, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in a meeting of cabinet committee on energy held on August 30 had raised the issue of payments made to Tarbela-4 for acceleration plan. “Since the project now will be commissioned as per the original plan, payments already made need to be recovered from the contractor,” he said.
Wapda Secretary Younis Dagha said the instructions had been issued to Wapda to this effect.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2016.
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