HYDERABAD: As the Jamshoro Power Company Limited, which has a production capacity of 850 megawatts, pursues its expansion plans, it is confronted with encroachment activities over its premises.
The company officials claim that a real estate developer-cum-land grabber, backed by influential politicians, has illegally occupied around 15 to 20 acres of its land after failing to win the ownership battle in court. That piece of land is being used to transport and park oil tankers that bring furnace oil. “On average, we receive around 110 oil tankers every day but the squatting activities have created disturbances,” an official told The Express Tribune.
A member of the company’s legal team told The Express Tribune that they have filed a contempt case in the high court. Their petition was fixed for July 9 but it could not be taken up. Now, the lawyer is hoping for a hearing in early August after the court vacations. “They (encroachers) have built a booking office for some Golden City residential scheme [over the disputed land] and the encroachment is gradually growing, disturbing the delivery of furnace oil.” According to him, the company’s top officials are getting life threats from the alleged squatters.
Meanwhile, the man who has been blamed for the illegal occupation, Usman Khoso, the main respondent in the high court case, denies ownership of the Golden City project. “We have had a dispute with the Jamshoro Power Company over 16 acres of land,” he said. “I have won verdicts in my favour from all the lower courts before the matter went to the SHC.” Khoso claims that the people of the villages around the company have some 192 acres near the company.
An official of the Sehwan Development Authority, who also sought anonymity, acknowledged that a housing society is being planned on the land but he confirmed the scheme was not approved by the authority.
The land in question has been in litigation for the past many years. On June 12, the Sindh High Court issued a stay order on the company’s plea to stop the respondents. “Since the order came, we approached and wrote to the district administration and the police several times but they are reluctant to act,” he said, explaining the law enforcers too face pressure from influential men.
Jamshoro district is a stronghold of the Pakistan Peoples Party, which bagged all four national and provincial assembly seats from the district in the May 11 elections.
To build this power plant, the company was given 700 acres. It was planning to expand its operations as a large part of this land was still empty even though a housing colony for its 1,500 employees is also located on the premises. According to the lawyer, the company’s warehouse was built on the disputed land in the early 1990s while the plant’s construction was underway. It was later shifted to a new building due to thefts.
The SSP and DC Jamshoro were not available to comment on why they have failed to implement court orders as yet.
The Jamshoro Power Company, located some 18 kilometres off Hyderabad along the Indus Highway in Jamshoro district, was established in 1999. With one furnace oil and three furnace oil-cum-gas fired units, it has a rated capacity of 850MW while its dependable capacity is 675MW. The construction of the 1,200MW coal fired plant and conversion of two existing units of 450MW capacity to coal are under consideration. These proposals were taken up at the July 2 meeting of the Central Development Working Party in Islamabad.
The company’s production slumped during the last five years as it attained the low making of only 125MW electricity in the 2010-11 period. After its overhaul, the production picked up and reached around 700MW over a month ago.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2013.