Undue benefits to Chinese firms, sleaze in CPEC riles Pakistanis

Mahua Venkatesh / New Delhi

Islamabad is unlikely to take any action on companies -- mainly Chinese firms-involved in high-level corruption in the power sector. A 278-page report by the Committee for Power Sector Audit, Circular Debt Reservation, and Future Roadmap revealed serious violations and discrepancies in the standard operating procedures guiding the independent power producers under the much-hyped China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Many feel the report will not be made public and no action will be taken against the perpetrators. Reason? Growing involvement and influence of China over Pakistan's politics and economy. Sources said discontent among people of Pakistan is rising with growing dominance of China. It pointed out the Chinese firms have gained unduly from CPEC projects. While a chunk of the loans has been given bilaterally by Beijing, part has been directed through the China Development Bank, ICBC China and Bank of China.

The report highlighted the cost of illegal gains and inefficiencies has to be shouldered by the people of Pak. “While the Pak au­thorities are in awe of China and the Chinese, people living in the country are unhappy with the growing influence of China. There is discontentment and an­ger as the brunt has to be borne by people,” an analyst said.

Chinese firms have made unrealistic and out-of-turn profits through over-invoicing and higher tariff charges compared to the prevailing market rates. Not just that, names of Razak Dawood and Nadeem Babar, both close associates of Pakistan PM Imran Khan, have also come up in the report for having gained from the project.

The report said the much-touted transmission line project under CPEC was 200% costlier than the one which was in India. “While the panel red-flagged China-linked power projects, both coal-fired and wind energy, two Chinese coal power producers, Huaneng Shandong Ruyi and Port Qasim Electric Power Company Limited, came in for criticism on account of violation of standard procedures and for indulging in malpractices.

‘Stop raw material import for bulletproof jackets from China’

New Delhi: Niti Aayog member VK Saraswat on Monday said Indian firms manufacturing bullet-proof jackets for the Army men should avoid importing raw materials from China because of “inconsistencies in the quality” of the shipments. This assumes significance as the clamour for boycott of Chinese goods has been growing louder ever since the violent clash broke out between the Indian and Chinese Armies in the Galwan Valley last week. Saraswat, also a former Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief, said these companies producing bullet-proof jackets for the army can get raw material from other sources that are the original equipment manufacturer production agencies. “Many times raw materials imported from China (to produce bullet-proof jackets) are not of good quality... We should avoid importing from Chinese sources because of inconsistencies of the raw material quality,” he said. The PMO had asked Aayog to prepare a road map for “incentivising” domestic manufacturing of lightweight body armours and protective gears.

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