The Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) chairman has resigned just six days after a meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over the reasons for delay in implementation of hydroelectric power projects.
A cell was established at the Prime Minister Secretariat to monitor progress on all the jobs including hydroelectric power and thermal jobs as the government is seeking to remove load shedding in the state by 2018 – a commitment made by the premier to the nation.
On August 20, the Wapda chairman seen the Tarbela 4th extension project where he was informed that it have been delayed for distinct motives including abnormally high flows, the regulator’s constraints in regard to the discharge of water in the dam and an accident on the site on July 2.
Based on officials, the Wapda chairman at that time made up his mind to leave the office and likely conveyed this.
On Monday, he tendered his resignation citing personal reasons and signaling that he would continue to perform his duties till the appointment of the new chairman.
Mehmood, who also served as national secretary in different capacities including secretary water and electricity during the previous Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) authorities, was made Wapda chairman by the present authorities.
He was made OSD several times during the PPP government over differences on several problems. He became controversial after writing a series of posts on the Kalabagh Dam.
In a high-level meeting in March, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was irked over the delay in completion of power projects. He directed the Ministry of Power and Water to prepare a report about the commitments made by the Wapda chairman in terms of the electricity projects and reasons for the delay.
In recent months, the premier has declared on distinct occasions that power outages will come to an end in 2018 the election year – – but it seems to not be easy to achieve.
The authorities had planned to complete power plants of 10,000-megawatt capacity until the winter of 2018 but the prime minister has now been told that the Neelum Jhelum hydroelectric power job and Tarbela 4th expansion job with a cumulative capacity of 2,369MW have been delayed.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, in a meeting chaired by the prime minister, said the Wapda chairman had guaranteed in January 2016 that the Tarbela 4th extension endeavor with a 1,400MW capability would start working in July 2017.
Viewing the 969MW Neelum Jhelum job, the assembly was advised that it could not be completed by the set timeframe as excavation of 4,877 metres of tunnel would necessitate another 16 view the tempo of work.
In this case also, the PM expressed his annoyance over failure to meet the dedication and asked for reasons behind the delay.
An official of the power ministry asserted that no effective tracking mechanism was in place.