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LAHORE: The top boss of the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC), Dr Fiaz Ahmad Chaudhry, who was removed from the managing director office on Friday, says he will take the matter to court to prove his innocence.

Dr Chaudhry also says that since he is no more in the office, he can speak openly about the challenges he faced during his tenure.

“I’m all set to challenge NTDC’s Board of Directors (BoDs) decision in the Lahore High Court in the next couple of days,” he said.

He alleged those whose vested interests were not being served were after him.

“I’m surprised that the show-cause notice was actually served on NTDC’s BoD by the government and not to me,” he said.

Logically, the government should have removed BoD members, who are non-technical and do not know well about the energy sector and one of the members is closed to a powerful federal minister, he claimed.

Mr Chaudhry also cited his accomplishment as the NTDC managing director that the company connected various power plants to transmit electricity through 500kV transmission lines in a short span of time. Similarly, various 500kV and 220kV transmission line projects were in their advanced stages of construction.

He said the projects discussed in the notice were launched much before his appointment. About Patrind hydropower project, he said there was no delay on his part since he connected the project quickly despite the fact there were many obstacles. He said the actual reasons behind his termination were not the allegations mentioned in the show-cause notice.

One reason could be cutting the cost and transmission tariff of the 660kV (High Voltage Direct Current) Matiari-Lahore transmission line from $508 million to $374 million. A leading Chinese company is to execute the project.

After this, Dr Chaudhry said, there was a plan to execute Port Qasim-Faisalabad transmission line. Though the project was not to be executed by the company involved with the first one, a top government official during his visit to China committed with the same company to execute it without consulting the authorities concerned.

“Besides this, some sugar mill owners too turned against me after I (being head of the procurement committee in the Central Power Purchase Agency) refused to accept their pressure of including their alternate renewable energy sector (energy generation through biogas/sugarcane waste) under the must-run operation category,” he alleged.

When contacted, Water and Power Secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokhar said the BoD had provided ample time to Mr Chaudhry to explain his position. “And whatever was done was done under the law,” he said.

“Dr Chaudhry worked with me for a very short time, and according to my opinion he was a good professional. But this challenging post also demands a person having good administrative or management skills,” he said.

About Dr Chaudhry’s allegation that people with vested interests got him removed, he said, “I think without any evidence no one should level such allegations.”

Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2017