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Event Title: Senator Prince Ahmed Umer Ahmedzai, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Communications presiding over a Meeting of the Committee at Parliament Lodges, Islamabad

Event Date: 2023-10-04

The Senate Standing Committee on Communications met on Wednesday under the Chairmanship of Senator Prince Ahmed Umer  AhmedZai here at the Old PIPS Hall, Parliament Lodges Islamabad.

The committee took up the matter regarding sub –standard material used in the construction of Kech-Harnai Road ( 10.7 km) and Harnai-Sanjavi Road ( 55.1 km) raised by Senator Muhammad Abida Azeem in the Senate Sitting. The NHA authorities briefed the committee that more than 1600 Field Density Test have been performed at project site up to date. It was briefed that about 1425 tests are declared passed, while 209 did not qualify the required density for which contractor was instructed to redo the work. It was also briefed that quality tests for aggregates, cements, steel and water are also performed in commercial laboratory to check the quality of materials. The chairman committee inquired on the details of companies authorized for the approval of test. The Chairman Committee sought list of all the testing companies and the basis on which they are qualified for approving Field Density Test in order ascertain its authenticity he added. The Chairman Committee also inquired on the procedure of the test to which it was explained that one by one layering is done on earth work, which is maximum 8 inches, and each layer after approval is completed for the next layer. The role of Material Engr. and Resident Engr. was also explained. The Chairman Committee inquired on the details of the Engineer. It was briefed that as per FIDIC condition of contract Clause 2.1 NHA has appointed Brig (arête.) Tarique Mahmood as the Engr., it was briefed that the main responsibility is for the top supervision of Contract Works. The committee chair inquired on the selection criteria for the engineer, salary, perks and privileges extended to them.  It was briefed by the NHA that the Engineers are selected from the Panel of NHA private Engineers, further the shortlisted candidates are being qualified through a special committee constituted for the same. It was apprised that no extra perks and privileges are given to the engineer and are salary based. It was further apprised that the Engr. works as a mediator for overall supervision of the contract or to settle any dispute if occurs. It was briefed that the engineer does not play any role as a contractor, consultant or representative of the NHA. The Committee Chair sought the list of all the Engineers appointed on all the Projects and details of their qualifications.

The committee was further briefed on the issues of the deficiency of Earthwork Quantities in Contract BOQ. It was briefed that an increase in PC-1 cost occurred due to additional Earthwork Quantities by rps 3,882,037,502 to which the NHEB established a fact –finding inquiry committee under the convenorship of Chief NTRC with VP-NESPAK and Member (Engg. Coord) NHA as member and member (west –Zone) NHA as secretary. The committee observed that the report of the findings of the inquiry committee is yet to be submitted and lamented on the delay of work by 9 months. The chairman committee deferred the matter for further report and inquiry with the directions to hire a private consultant and reevaluate the price of the project. It was also directed to prepare a comparison report between the present rates and the rates at the time the tender was advertised.

The committee also received briefing on the Sailkot –Khariyan Motorway Project. The member PPP NHA briefed the committee that the ECNEC approved PC-I of PKR 43,382 million. It was briefed that Zahir Khan 7 Brothers (ZKB) EGC, TECHNO+MATRACON CONSORTIUM ACC and FWO+SMC JV ZEERUK participated in bidding for SKM. It was brifed that the FWO-SMC JV generated a total NHA revenue Share as 8,504 million while Techno-Matracon revenue share was 7,360 million.  It was briefed that M/s Mechno-Matracon’s bid was declared Non-Conforming Bid due to unequal annual instalment quoted in the Bid for Operational VGF against RFP requirement of equal annual installments. The committee raised concerns on disqualifying Techno-Matracon only on the pretext of unequal instalments. On the disqualification of Techno Matracon as a potential bidder the matter was taken up by the grievance committee. The grievance committee did not give decision in favor of the Tecno Matracon. The NHA authority briefed the committee that that the contract took place as per condition of the concession agreement. The committee being dissatisfied with the answer of the NHA commented that NHA is found biased in issuing the to FWO-SMC JV. In the light of the thorough discussion the committee chair recommended to initiate an inquiry against the department which extended undue favor in issuing the tender process. It was also emphasized that while issuing tenders emphasis should be given in the benefit of the investor rather than the contractor. The committee chair stressed that the committee solely work for the larger interest of the country, and therefore fair and just decisions should be implemented.

The committee while receiving briefing on the Pindi –Khariyan Motorway Project was briefed in detail the observations of revocable Letter of Intent. It was argued that the Techno-Matracon JC and Powerchina Chengdu Engineering Corporation Limited was required to obtain confirmation from Powerchina Chengdu about its lead role and percentage share to substantiate the submission of bidder. It was briefed that the bidder failed to address the key observations of the revocable LOI and therefore the NHA executive board withdraw the LOI and annulment of procurement process. The committee chair emphasized on the impact of rates and substantial increase in dollar as a result of process of retendering. He stressed that clarity should be observed while taking decisions on projects costing billions of rupees and the country should not suffer monetary loss in these dire economic crisis. it was further recommended that the project may be referred to NAB and FIA authorities if the estimated project cost in any case exceeds by rupees 85 billion in the re-tendering process. 

The meeting was attended by Senator Shamim Afridi, Danesh Kumar, Muhammad Akram, Manzoor Ahmed Kakar, Umer Farooq, Abida Muhammad Azeem and Senator Abdul Qadir. Senior officers from related department were also in attendance.