LAHORE - Taking notice of increase in cost of Nandipur power project, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed the Planning Division secretary to submit a report on the matter within three days.

Former Pepco managing director Munawar Basir, in a recent letter to Chief Justice of Pakistan, had exposed a Rs15 billion scam in this project. Munawar stated the PML-N government had revived the 425MW project with a monumental upward cost revision of $570 million from previous $329 million.

In his letter, the former Pepco boss claimed: “The revised PC-1 of the Nandipur power project is a well thought out, well conceived and white collar scam to cheat the public exchequer of $149 million, the benefit of which will go to a select private sector party.”

The Nandipur plant was supposed to start production by the end of 2010, but the work was stopped in April 2011 after the former government failed to pacify concerns of the foreign lenders who refused to release funds for the project.

Being built near Gujranwala, the combined-cycle plant is halfway complete with three turbines already installed at the site.

PAK-CHINA ACCORDS A TURNING POINT FOR ECONOMY

INP adds: Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid has said the government wants to address issues pertaining to energy‚ economy and security on priority basis.

In an interview‚ the minister said all energies were being used to solve serious problems of the country. He hoped the agreements signed with China during the recent visit of the prime minister would be a turning point for Pakistan’s economy.

He said the PML- N government favoured talks with Taliban for peace in the country and the region.

He questioned if talks could be held with Taliban in Doha why they could not be held in Islamabad.

The minister said the government was fully convinced that talks were the best course to address all concerns and reservations of the respective parties. He said even after the war‚ the adversaries would have to sit on the table for negotiations to settle their disputes.

About drone attacks‚ the information minister said the government wanted to settle this issue with the United States through dialogue. He said the Foreign Office was in contact with the United States on this issue.