The ground breaking ceremony of the much-awaited 800 MW Mohmand dam hydropower project suffers a delay and will now take place on January 13.
“The ground breaking ceremony of Mohmand dam was earlier scheduled for the first week of January but it will now take place in the second week,” said the Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda while addressing a press conference on Wednesday.
He said there had not been any wrongdoing in award of the dam’s contract to a joint venture of CGGC-Descon and emphasised that the bidding process was completed and the contract was awarded to the company prior to establishment of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.
The minister also refused to appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to answer with regard to the bidding controversy on a one-day notice and said he is answerable only to the prime minister.
“I am not anyone’s servant. I will not appear before them [PAC] on one-day notice, particularly when a convicted person or accused comes from jail and summons me,” the minister said in an apparent reference to PAC Chairman Shehbaz Sharif, who is facing NAB investigation and is currently in custody.
Vawda said he is not answerable to anyone other than the prime minister. He said no one would be allowed political point-scoring, adding that he had also directed his ministry that no one would appear before the PAC on a one-day notice.
Regarding the bidding process for Mohmand dam, he said: “Due to the negative propaganda of some people, work on the dam was not started. Now it is being started before schedule and the project will be completed before its due time. Unlike the previous government, the present government is not going to inaugurate the same project again and again.”
Wapda chairman also addressed a press conference in Islamabad on the same issue. When Vowda was asked about the reason for not holding a joint press conference, he said it was due to cabinet meeting.
Talking about awarding of Mohmand dam contract to a joint venture of Descon and China Gezhouba, the minister said the contract was awarded to the company before the PTI government took charge.
The minister alleged that anti-state forces and enemy countries had created many controversies to further delay mega dam projects. All the hurdles have been removed and now the project is going to be materialised, he added.
The minister said no favouritism was shown while awarding contract to CGGC-Descon. “Speculative comments about the contract are totally baseless as the entire process has been undertaken with utmost transparency and without any favour or fear.”
Vawda said neither Wapda, nor any minister can award contract to any company without following the rules and regulations. The contract was awarded after technically evaluations by neutral experts.
The journalists later boycotted the minister’s press conference after Vowda started using derogatory language in response to a question asked by a senior journalist. “You are my elder therefore I replied to the question; if anyone else asked this question, I would not answer it and would remove the mike,” he said