Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Planning Development and Reforms Senator Agha Shahzaib Durrani in Committee meeting expressed serious reservation over inclusion of 44 non-approved schemes. He said that these schemes never appeared in PSDP presented to Senate and this Committee. The Committee during its meetings on budget PSDP proposals was assured that no new projects that came under provincial domain will be included in PSDP and no unapproved projects will be included. The Committee also observed that the committee was assured that no projects to be funded from PSDP which are to be funded by SDGs and at the same time no recommendation of Senate was entertained at any time. Despite all these assurances 44 unapproved projects were included in new PSDP book which was never presented in the Senate. He further said that such inclusion of projects in PSDP is unconstitutional. Even, Leader of the House in Senate Senator Shibli Faraz also expressed concern over the procedure adopted for finalisation of the schemes. The Chairman constituted a sub-Committee comprising of Senators Mir Kabeer Muhammad Shahi, Rukhsana Zuberi and Hidayatullah to probe this matter.
While discussing the draft Energy Policy 2019, the Committee asked AEDP to share the draft with the committee for its input and also asked for an extensive briefing on what incentives are being provided to investors for renewable energy sector and how the current policy will be different from the Energy Policy of 2019. Chairman Committee Senator Durrani was of the view that the directions were also given in the last meeting to make the new draft an investor friendly incentive for businesses as well as overseas Pakistanis so that they can help make Pakistan’s energy grid a good mix of renewable and non-renewable energy. Leader of the House was of the view that renewable Energy is being discouraged by design and many people who came to invest in this sector are going away again. He said that investors have to be incentivised as there is a strong lobby that is active in this and doesn’t want their businesses affected.
On the matter of extensive amounts being paid as subsidy to tube wells in Balochistan, the Committee observed that there should be a permanent solution to this by either solarising the tube wells or some other solution. The minister told the meeting that in this matter lead will have to be taken by Power ministry and finance and planning will be assisting them. The Committee decided to call a joint meeting of Power, planning and government of Balochistan to discuss the matter and recommended coming up with as many business proposals for the matter as the ministry of power can. The Committee was told that feasibility study on water table situation will complete by March 2020 and then a work plan will be formulated.
The Committee was also given a briefing on the current status of K-IV water project regarding the flaws in the alignment proposed by consultants and challenges being faced in transmission and distribution channels of water
The Minister told the Committee that meetings were held a few days ago with the government of Sindh and the matter was discussed at length. He told that in addition to realignment of K-IV project phase, K-I, K-II, K-III also need some optimisation. He said that NESPAK presented the initial K-IV Design review findings and has proposed design improvements after completion of technical study by NESPAK by end of September 2019. NESPAK will submit complete feasibility study of technically viable and economically feasible solution of K-IV project to Government of Sindh within two months. Joint Technical Review Committee will review and assess the NESPAK report. The Committee directed that TORs of this joint committee should be shared with this committee of the Senate. Chairman Committee emphasized on the need of paying due consideration to the kind of consultants hired for such projects as they later contribute in cost escalation and extended timelines. The Committee also observed that huge responsibility lies on the ministry of planning that vets all the projects and has to have responsible people for this job. Chairman Committee directed the ministry to investigate about the delays and irregularities in K-IV projects and penalise the responsible people.
The Committee was given a briefing by DG Gwadar Development Authority on Necessary facilities of fresh water treatment, water supply and distribution system in Gwadar. It was told that the current daily demand of the city stands at 7.48 MGD and supply is 2.5 MGD. Woth completion of Shadi Kour Dam transmission line the city will manage to get additional 5 MGD. However, the distribution network to supply the water at home is still not in place and the infrastructure which was to be established in phase 3 of the project will have to start simultaneously. The Committee appreciated GDA for timely completion of phase-I and the progress of Phase-II of Gwadar drinking water supply scheme. The Committee also asked GDA to submit a revised PC-I of the Phase-III to Planning Commission and Committee within ten days and asked the ministry of planning to prioritize its funding so that work on this project can be expedited.