$700m Dasu transmission line: Senate panel smells a rat in NTDC’s contract process


ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Power on Friday again accused the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) of “tailoring” prequalification criteria and tender documents of $700 million 765-KV double circuit Dasu transmission line in connivance with the beneficial companies and World Bank representative.

Senator Saifullah Abro, the committee Chairman also hinted that he would write a letter to World Bank Pakistan Mission on behalf of the Committee members aimed at pointing out wrongdoings in the contracts awarded to consultants and contractors as neither the consultants or contractors meet the criteria prepared by NTDC itself.

“The contract was manipulated by NTDC, contractor Chinese firm Sinohydro, and consultants GOPA Intec,” Chairman Standing Committee said, adding that if concerned officials of NTDC are dealt with ‘under Martial Law’, they will speak the truth.

‘Faulty’ contract of 765kV Dasu transmission line: Senate panel grills senior officials of NTDC

World Bank has already invested $900 million on Dasu hydropower project. At Dasu HPP site the Indus river has been diverted through the tunnel and the site is clear for construction of the main dam (work on main dam is in progress on fast track basis).

There was a consensus in the Committee meeting that Nisar Akhtar, GM (Project Delivery-North) is either incompetent or he is hiding the facts.

Chairman Standing Committee directed Managing Director Rana Abdul Jabbar to take action against GM (Project Delivery-North). Most of the time, MD NTDC preferred to remain silent during criticism on General Manager Nisar Akhtar.

According to Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), powerhouse will commence operation in May 2026.

World Bank approved additional financing under IBRD loan PK-9076 amounting to $700 million, signed on October 15, 2020. Project Agreement was signed between NTDC and World Bank on October 7, 2020. Subsidiary Loan Agreement (SLA) signed NTDC and EAD on April 2, 2021. NTDC has already released over Rs830 million to consultants and $130 million to contractors.

NTDC officials, in their presentation shared entire process with the Committee, according to which for consultants at the time of publication of a Request for Expression of Interest (REOI) the experience was kept limited to the last five years while during evaluation and after discussion with World Bank, it was agreed to consider the overall experience of firms without referring to specific dates and details of specific experience at this stage to enhance the list of qualified.

For Contractors, experience of the last 12 years was kept to confirm that either the firm is still working in the same business or vanished/shifted to other businesses.

On December 29, 2022, NTDC had signed an agreement of transmission line Lot-1 with M/s Sinohydro, which was effective from February 10, 2023. The contract completion time is 40 months.

GM (Project Delivery-North) NTDC gave a presentation on the project to the committee and faced very tough questions from the Chairman Standing Committee and Committee Members.

Additional Secretary Arsahd Majeed expressed his no confidence on briefing of NTDC officials and requested Standing Committee to give a last chance to NTDC officials for presenting their case in the next meeting so that the issue is closed. He also proposed that official who processed transmission line contract should be summoned in the next meeting so that he could explain the entire scheme of things.

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