|Zafar out, Nargis Sethi takes power ministry’s charge|
06 October 2012
ISLAMABAD: Secretary Water and Power Zafar Mehmood has been made an OSD (Official on Special Duty) and Mrs Nargis Sethi has been given the additional charge of the ministry in his place.
This surprising development comes at a time when Zafar Mehmood had effectively stepped up the campaign to recover the dues of electric power distribution companies from influential but permanent defaulters.
Mehmood is known as an upright officer who was secretary commerce where he played a vital role in relaxing the trade regime with India. He was brought to the Ministry of Water and Power as he had decided to act on the directives of the Supreme Court in the NICL scam in which Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim was involved.
Mehmood was then brought to the Water and Power Ministry as its principal accounting officer by Ch Ahmed Mukhtar, Federal Minister for Water and Power.However, according to the top officials, Zafar Mehmood has been shown the door as he had opposed the decision of a top government leader in a recent meeting on Thar coal that diesel-run powerhouses would be converted into Thar coal-based power plants instead of imported coal.
Mehmood vehemently opposed the decision arguing that the ADB would not provide the financing for the project as the ministry was seeking conversion of some power plants on imported coal. He was of the view that any donor agency came up with the funding only when it was sure about the availability of coal.
He argued in the meeting, according to the official, that the ministry did not know when the Thar coal would be made available for power generation. “If Thar coal is used, there will be no funding,” the official said.
The official said that the ADB had agreed to give a loan for a new 600MW power plant at Muzzarfargarh based on imported coal and that loan might now be cancelled because of the new decision of the prime minister.
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