A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Power was held under the chairmanship of Senator Saifullah Abro at the Parliament House.
Consideration on the matter referred by the Chairman Senate on the power issues at the export processing zone, Risalpur, which is one of the fastest-growing industrial zones in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, was deliberated upon in detail. It was observed that no electricity supply from PESCO had been given, on account of which no export has taken place for three years.
The Committee was apprised that over a period of 3 decades, only $150 million revenue has been generated, and exports amounting to only $40 million have taken place. The Committee was apprised by the Joint Committee Industrial Zone that from the beginning, the Zone was powered through one electricity feeder and the second feeder was added recently by KPEZDMC, but due to fast Industrialization in the zone, both feeders are overloaded now, and with constant fluctuation, tripping, load shedding and loss of valuable electric equipment losses are taking place.
The Committee members were apprised that the over 200 Industries are jointly running under the umbrella of EPZ, KPEZDMC, and PASDEC, which are an earning source for over 10,000 direct families in the region and a source of tax revenue to the Government. It was lamented that no cooperation on the part of the PESCO is being extended to the EPZ, with the matter now pending for 20 years.
Besides, a connection of 132-kV, 100 percent completed grid station under PASDEC to the national transmission line, is pending since 2012 due to non-payment of the remaining amount Rs. 120 million. The officials of the PESCO informed the Committee that 640 factories have closed down in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa due to a shortage of electricity.
The officials said that a power transformer will be installed by December 2021 in the region. The Secretary, Power Division also informed the Committee that connection from the grid station of the Pakistan Stone Development Company (PSDC) would supply electricity to the EPZ according to the regulations until a dedicated grid is installed in the region. The Chairman Committee issued direction to PESCO to solve the matter at its earliest as it is causing a huge loss of millions of dollars.
The Chairman Committee sought a report on the appointment of MD NTDC, and a new advertisement for the post of MD, GHCL, which has been pending long by now. The Secretary, Power Division informed the Committee that the report on the appointment of MD, NTDC is awaited by the Board of Directors (BoDs) since the Board is newly constituted, and the Board of Directors (BoDs) is the competent authority to deliberate upon the report.
The Chairman Committee sought a report on the new advertisement for the post of MD, GHCL, in the light of the High Court Judgment. The Secretary, Power Division, contented that the Board is the final authority for all the legislative and recruitment decisions, under the Companies Act, 2017, after the completion of due process. The Secretary Power Division further stated that the advertisement is aptly published according to the due requisites of the appointment. Moreover, an appeal against the decision of the High Court has also been made.
The Chairman Committee observed that the matters pertaining to the appointment of the MD and the new advertisement are being deliberately delayed with mala-fide intentions. “The Power Division is delaying the matter over one pretext or the other aiming to bluff the Senate Committee,” he further added. The Chairman Committee showed concern that no heed is being paid on the recommendation of the Senate Committee, “It seems like the Board of Directors (BoDs) has been given authority all in all, without any check and balance over them,” he reiterated.
The Committee unanimously observed that the decisions of the Board of Directors (BoDs) are to be held supreme and all other authorities are held worthless over their decision. The Chairman Committee also observed that Secretary Power Division showed a lack of interest in the discussion taking place in the Committee and seemed like not bound to answer any of the questions rather than deliberately engaging in arguments when asked to reply.
The Chairman Committee sought a tabulated report on the number of meetings of the Board of Directors (BoD’s) and the expenditure cost on each meeting. He further directed that a complete financial report be also provided by the Power Division. The Chairman Committee, with the consensus of the members, decided to lay the matter of the Board of director (BoD) in the House and hold them responsible to answer their working which has led to the Power plants efficiency drop from 4574MW to 2168MW.
The Secretary, Power Division, informed the Committee that the compensation package has also been rightly not approved by the Board of Directors (BoD) with retrospective effect. He said that no compensation package has a retrospective effect also has to take into consideration the financial position of the department. The Committee lamented how the department could give high salaries to few employees and do not have the financial resources for compensation for those poor families who have lost their precious lives.
While taking a briefing on the promotion Policy of Engineers from LS-II to the highest rank, the Chairman Committee questioned the appointment of the General Manager (HR) PEPCO, Mr. Sagheer Ahmed, and directed to submit the complete record of the recruitment process of the said official in the next meeting.
The officials of the Power Division informed the Committee that the direct induction Quota for Jr. Engineer is 70 percent for Fresh BE (Electrical/ Electronics) from recognized university having PEC registration and 30 percent promotional quota from amongst the UTS having Graduate Engineering Degree (Electrical and Electronics), 5 percent, Diploma Holders, 12.5 percent, Matriculation UTS, 7.5 percent, and B Tech (Hons.), 5 percent, having four years experience. Further, it was apprised that the UTS includes categories of LS-I/ MRSS/SSO/LFM-1/Test Inspector.
Similarly, the direct induction quota for LS-I is 25 percent, and the promotional quota for the same is 75 percent. In the same way, the direct Induction quota for LS-II is 45 percent, and the promotional quota is 55 percent. The Chairman Committee gave recommendations to review the promotional policy of the Engineers from LS-II.
Discussion on the “Kunda Culture,” along with a report on the number of Regular and Kunda Connections in each Disco was considered in detail. The Committee was apprised that there is a total 1,389,184 number of Kunda connections, and 31,649,536 are regular connections. Surprisingly, no Kunda Connection was found in TESCO. The Committee asked regarding the basis the report was prepared, replying to which, the Secretary, Power Division, said that the report is made through the field formed by the same companies and not from any outside source.
The Chairman Committee questioned as to why this electricity theft is not being stopped. The Secretary, Power Division, said that electricity theft is a non-cognizable offense. Recommendations have been made, time and again, that it should be a cognizable offense so that the concerned department could be given security when taken action against the responsible.
The chairman emphasized that such an open crime must not be allowed, and those responsible in promoting the Kunda culture must be tracked down. The chairman committee sought a graphical description of the district-wise number of connections and losses in the next meeting. Further Discussion on achievement of GHCL in the light of report MD, GHCL was also considered.
The meeting was attended by Senator Fida Muhammad, Saifullah Sarwar Khan Nyazee, Zeeshan Khanzada, Prince Ahmed Umer Ahmedzai, Sana Jamali, Haji Hidayullah Khan, and Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi. Senior officials from the Power Division, along with the attached departments, were also in attendance.