ISLAMABAD: The national grid operator — National Transmission & Despatch Company (NTDC) — issued notice of default to a Chinese firm for inordinate delays in the completion of a 45-km transmission line near Lahore.

In a notice of default, the NTDC has conveyed to Sin­o­hydro Corp Ltd that the scheduled completion for the 220kV transmission line was April 24, 2021 (ie 540 days from the effective date of Nov 1, 2019) which had lapsed a long time ago but the performance was still not up to the mark even after the delay of more than three years.

The NTDC said that the contractor had shown a non-serious attitude towards such an important project from the start of the project. “Even more than 41 months have lapsed since the commencement of the project but ‘you are not carrying out the contractual obligations including the site activities”.

This “situation is very alarming” and hence “a matter of grave concern”, said the NTDC, advising the contractor to take immediate remedial steps within 14 days of this notice to complete the project well in time. “Otherwise, the employer may terminate the contract forthwith by giving a notice of termination to the contractor” followed by encashment of performance guarantee.

The national grid operator reported that the transmission line is still far behind the revised completion schedule of May 2023.

The total material has not reached the site and civil works are not completed either as of now. The project is part of a larger $800 million financing from the Asian Development Bank.

Interestingly, despite the slow progress on a smaller project of a 220kV line of 45km in the plains, the NTDC has already awarded a contract to the same firm for a larger 765kV transmission line in one of the highest altitudes a couple of weeks ago – Lot-1 of Dasu to Mansehra segment for evacuation of power generation from Dasu Hydropower project.

Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2023

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