A legislative body of Upper House of Parliament on Monday repeatedly claimed that the bidding process of the Mohmand Dam Hydropower Project was done with fulfilling all legal requirements and no one be given an extra favour. “The Rs 309 billion project would be build for multi-purposes like flood control, hydropower generation, irrigated agricultural development, irrigated water supply to existing area and drinking water supply to Peshawar for the next 500 years,” Water & Power Development Authority (WAPDA) Chairman Muzammil Hussain said while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Power, which was held at the Parliament House. Senator Shamim Afridi was in chair. Speaking on the occasion, Water Resources Minister Faisal Vawda said the country had not been able to build a dam over the past 50-60 years because some people always created problems, adding that the systems put in place by the government could not allow a minister or its subordinate institution to award contracts. Faisal Vawda further said that Descon had only 30 percent shares in the consortium, adding that bids were evaluated by technical experts comprising Nespak, an Australian company and another foreign firm and the qualified bidder had secured the contract. About the contract of Mohmand Dam, WAPDA Chairman Muzammil Hussain said the project was a joint venture comprising China Gezhouba, Descon and Voith Hydro after clearing all the codal formalities. He said China Gezhouba had 70 percent share in the project while Descon and Voith Hydro had 30 percent share. Muzammil Hussain said Mohmand Dam will help deal with the issue of floods in Charsadda and Mardan. Senator Mir Muhammad Yousaf Badini strongly resisted over awarding the contract to Descon and said it was disqualified in a small project of Balochistan but here the award of a big project was given to it. However, the Power Ministry and WAPDA officials informed the committee that Descon was disqualified in Balochistan because the joint venture with other partner was disqualified. Even if Descon applied solely for Balochistan project, it might be qualified, the officials maintained. The WAPDA chairman claimed that the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority rules were strictly followed in award of Mohmand Dam project. The chairman also said that still there was a need to improve capacity building of local construction companies so that they can participate alone in any big project. For the time being, it was compulsion of the government to mainly rely on foreign construction companies. He also said local engineers would be involved in construction of Mohmand Dam and they would be given Rs 150,000 per month while in local market they hardly get Rs 45,000 per month. Shamim Afridi told the officials that a chance should be given to local construction companies in big projects and claimed that they could also perform better. Usually, a small company involved a big company through a joint venture and carry out the whole work by small company and the big company just took some share out of the project. While discussing Noulong Dam in Jhal Magsi, the Baloch senators claimed that the ministry and WAPDA could not take interest in completing the projects of the province. In response, the Power Ministry representative said that there were several mega projects in the ministry and the government had to prioritise, otherwise these projects would never reach completion event in the next 15 to 30 years. Published in Daily Times, February 12th 2019.