LAHORE: The Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) management allegedly recruited 10 men in a dubious process only to accommodate some cronies by creating new posts, even on redundant slots, during the last six month.
The recruitments were made on the wish of newly appointed Chairman Lieutenant General (Retd.) Muzammil Hussain since August 24, 2016. WAPDA management seems to be deviating from its mandate (construction of dams for electricity production) and is spending public money for provision of luxuries to its Chairman to maintain personal physical fitness.
According to a document obtained by Truth tracker, the recruitments were made on national pay scale 18 to 20 and out of 10 recruited men nine have a military background allegedly from the regiment of the chairman. All have been offered huge perks and privileges despite the facts they have no opportunity to contribute to the execution of mandate given to WAPDA by the government, as indicated by the document.
The brigade of recruits include Brig (Retd) Akhtar Abbas Janjua, (BPS 20) PSO to Chairman; Brig (Retd) Sohaib Taqi, (BPS 20) General Manager Land Acquisition; Najeeb Ahmed Turk (the lone civilian, BPS-20) Advisor on Procurement and Clearance; Lt. Col (R) Abdul Ghaffar Khan Babar Sarfrazi, (BPS 19) Advisor to Authority on Dasu HPP Land acquisition; Lt. Col (Retd) Tahir Raja, (BPS 19) Advisor to Authority on Security of Tarbela Dam; Lt. Col (R) Mohsin Ali, (BPS 19) Director Sports Training; Lt. Col (R) Afzal Ahmad, (BPS 19) Director Transport; Major (R) Hassan Shakeel Khan, (BPS 18) Advisor to Authority on Social and Resettlement Works at Dasu; Major (R) Faisal Jawad, (BPS 18) Deputy Director Security and; Major (R) Ali Zaidi, (BPS 18) Deputy Director Security, the document with TT reveals.
Five of these posts, including three in BPS 20 and two in BSP 19, were filled without advertising the positions in any national press, showing a complete disregard for transparency and merit in the government hiring, as required by the decisions of the Supreme Court as well as contract employment policy of government. Remaining five recruitments were made after advertisement of their posts but the National Testing Service (NTS) exams requirement was relaxed for them, the documents adds.
The mala fides of the higher-ups is evident from the fact that Brig (R) Shoaib Taqi was hired for the post GM land acquisition which was not needed. He was, therefore, re-designated as GM Human Resource Development and given the portfolio of Managing Director Administration- a regular post on which a Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS) BS-21 officer is already serving. The latter is asked to establish a ‘Medical College’, which is not the mandate of WAPDA from any side of designated task and Act, the document says. All the recruited men are drawing Rs.3.2 million as perks and privileges per month from WAPDA.
Waste of Public Funds
The federal government has announced adoption of austerity measures in all its public expenditures with the aim to promote good governance with wise utilization of public coffers. Whereas, this policy has no worth for WAPDA and its boss because the authority is establishing a fully furnished and well-equipped gymnasium with the latest gadgets at WAPDA house Lahore.
The authority has spent Rs.5.0 million for the purchase of exercising machinery and Rs.1.5 million for renovation, installation of LED screen and DJ system in the gym. The chairman is seldom in head office in Lahore, yet the authority has spent Rs.6.5 million of the public money on building a gymnasium at the head office for the exclusive use of the chairman to maintain fitness, the document with TT reveals. The establishment of high-tech gym is surprising since WAPDA has a sports complex in Kot Lakhpat Lahore where gym facilities are available for its officials.
WAPDA was established through an Act of Parliament in 1958 as an autonomous and statutory body under the administrative control of the federal government. The Authority consists of a Chairman and three members (water, power and finance). The total manpower of authority was 1,75,000 when it was unbundled in 2007 and bifurcated into two distinct entities i.e., WAPDA and Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO). After unbundling, WAPDA was given the mandate for development of water and hydropower resources.
Now its manpower is slashed to 17,000 only because rest went to PEPCO. PEPCO is vested with the responsibility of thermal power generation, transmission, distribution and billing. It is also responsible for the management of all the affairs of corporatized nine distribution companies (DISCOs), four generation companies (GENCOs) and a National Transmission Dispatch Company (NTDC). These companies are working under independent Board of Directors, the official web site says.
Despite its adherence to its mandate, the higher management started the exercise to establish a medical college with 100 student seats in Lahore on the strong wish of Chairman. A steering committee was set up to hire a project director for the establishment of medical college which is hired on a package of Rs.3,00,000 per month. Even a meeting was convened with the officials of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) in which it advised a purpose-built state-of-the art campus sprawling over an area of 50,000 square feet and 500 bed hospital, legally required by PMDC for its registration, the official documents says.
The Chairman has since diverted 500 million from the WAPDA Foundation Fund (out of Rs.800 million) illegally to set up a Medical School, something to which he is not empowered under section 8 of the WAPDA Act. The project of establishing medical school is a sham (to help the cronies) and a waste of public funds negating its mandate, the official documents reveals.
The chairman also approved to vacate all offices from Sunny View site to convert it in to Medical College, which has an estimated area of 30,000 square feet. All WAPDA offices have been directed to relocate in rented buildings to enable for renovation/re-designing and construction of the steel structure at the site in the shortest span of time, which can’t be justified from any quarters. Millions of rupees have been released for the renovation and alteration work of vicinity Sunny View. Presently WAPDA current hospital, with the bed capacity of 250 (occupancy is only 70 per cent), has been directed by chairman to add 250 beds in the basement, which is not practically possible, an official confirms.
The prime minister terminated former chairman Zafar Mehmood (he claims he resigned) in August 2016 over slow pace of work, negligence, poor performance and delay in construction work at Neelam Jhelum, Dasu, Tarbela, and Katchi Canal projects. Lieutenant General (R) Muzammil Hussain was appointed chairman while giving him challenging task to execute all these projects with in stipulated time frame work to fulfill the promise of ending load-shedding before next general elections 2018, the documents with TT says.
The chairman, however, has changed his focus and found establishment of a medical college a more attractive business, contrary to the mandate of WAPDA. He is even housing himself in Islamabad to directly supervise the construction work and installation of machinery on all projects.
When contacted, WAPDA spokesperson stated that the recruitments have been made in accordance with the powers, which the authority possesses as an autonomous organization. WAPDA is setting an indoor exercise facility at WAPDA House to facilitate its officials who remain busy in discharging their duties beyond office hours most often.
WAPDA’s projects are located across the country, mostly in the North. The incumbent Chairman makes whirlwind visits to the projects’ sites; spending his time on meeting with the higher authorities and stakeholders. Rest of the time he remains at WAPDA House to discharge his duties not only during weekdays but also during the off days, said the spokesman.
The spokesperson added that WAPDA has developed a very good health care system across Pakistan for its employees and their families. It intends to serve the society in health sector as well under its corporate social responsibility and use its current facilities to establish a Medical College. It is important to note that WAPDA Foundation is a subsidiary of WAPDA, whose income is used for the welfare purpose.