Thar coal power project: SC forms committee to investigate corruption in project

The Nation

The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the formation of a committee to investigate alleged corruption in Thar coal power project.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard the suo motu case regarding alleged corruption in Thar coal power project.
As the hearing went under way, prominent scientist and chairman of Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) project in Thar, Dr Samar Mubarakmand informed the court, “We set-up a 100MW plant at a cost of Rs8.8 billion under a Sindh government’s project. In October 2012, we received funding of Rs900 million and by 2014-15 the plant was generating 8MW.”
Justice Nisar then turned to Dr Samar and said, “Don’t praise your projects, we want to see what work you have done.”
The bench asked, “Why is only 8MW of power being generated when Rs3.4 billion have been spent on the underground gas project.”
Responding to the bench, the additional attorney general said, “One project will generate 1,320MW of electricity and cost $1.9 billion meanwhile three projects of 300MW each are near completion at a cost of $1.77 billion.”
Further, the additional attorney general informed the bench, “Two plants operating on imported coal and generating 1,320MW of electricity have been set-up at Port Qasim and Sahiwal.”
The bench then ordered a formation of a committee to probe alleged corruption in the power project.
“The committee will constitute experts on energy and scientists,” the bench said while adding that Salman Akram Raja and Shehzad Elahi have been appointed court advisers.
The top court also summoned a reply from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) regarding investigation into the alleged corruption in the project. “NAB should inform us how the corruption done in this project can be proven,” the bench stated.
The court also took notice of non-payment of salaries to the project’s employees.

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