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Dr Fiaz Ahmad Chaudhry.
Dr Fiaz Ahmad Chaudhry.

LAHORE: In a significant developement, the National Transmission Despatch Com­­­p­any’s (NTDC) Board of Directors (BoD) on Friday removed its top boss Dr Fiaz A. Chaudhry citing lack of professionalism allegedly on his part in executing various projects concerning the China-Pakistan Eco­no­mic Corridor (CPEC). The Ministry of Water and Power has endorsed the BoD’s decision.

Dr Chaudhry, however, says he was let go of for working, what he believes was, the greater national interest. “I was of the view that the government should be careful while entering into further agreements regarding power generation and demand since we had already signed accords of 42,000MW. In the national interest, I believed that since enough had been done in this regard, we could be trapped if we went on signing similar agreements in the future,” he told Dawn.

According to the notification issued by NTDC’s Company Secretary Ijaz Ahmad: “The Board of Directors of the National Transmission & Despatch Company Limited in its 128th meeting held on June 29, 2017 has unanimously decided to terminate the services Dr Fiaz Ahmad Chaudhry as managing director in accordance with clause 10.3 of the employment/service agreement dated June 30, 2016 and to remove him from the position of managing director with immediate effect.”

Dr Chaudhry says he is being targeted by vested interests

Following the notification, a spokesperson for the company said the BOD, while noticing gross lack of professionalism in execution of national projects, on a reference moved in the public interest, had issued a show-cause notice to the MD and provided him ample opportunity as per the set procedure to explain his position.

According to the press release: “The BOD noticed that interconnections of main projects of CPEC like 500kV Port Qasim line, the 220kV Gharo line, and the 500kV Rahim Yar Khan-Moro line (3rd Circuit) had not been handled in a proper way where slippage of timelines had jeopardised the prospects of full transmission of new generation. Besides these, the 132kV Patrind hydropower project was also delayed and the company had served notice of damages to the tune of Rs200 million per month.”

It added that the NTDC had missed major timelines regarding removal of key system constraints to allow for full flow of power this year. As a result, there was continuous loadshedding in Ramazan. National transmission stabilisation remained a major challenge which could not be achieved and the situation in the southern parts of the country worsened as the system collapsed in the first two days of Ramazan, plunging large parts of southern grids in darkness. “The situation was further compounded by the frequent collapse of 500kV circuit towers due to lack of maintenance. The response to restore the system was highly dissatisfactory resulting in discomfort to the consumers,” reads the release.

Talking to Dawn, Dr Chaudhry, a PhD in electrical engineering appointed by the former Water and Power Ministry secretary Younus Dhaga, said he had been targeted for being sincere in his work. “When the vested interests of high-ups are not served, they find a way to remove the hurdles. This is the actual reason behind my removal,” he added.

Published in Dawn, July 8th, 2017