Karachi: The Sindh High Court (SHC) has restrained Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) from awarding the contract for open cast lignite mine of Thar block-II until February 6.
Justice Muneeb Akhtar, who headed an SHC bench, has also sought replies from the provincial chief secretary, secretary of coal and energy development department, Thar Coal Energy Board and SECMC by the next hearing.
The court issued the orders while hearing a case filed by Reliance Consultancy and Engineering Works Limited over alleged irregularities in the award of the coal mining contract.
Reliance told the court that SECMC, which holds around 50% share in Sindh government’s coal exploration project, had sought bids from contractor companies for the open cast lignite mine of Thar block-II.
Advocate Naeem Iqbal, who represented the complainant, said his client, who had enough financial and technical capability and experience of undertaking projects in Thar, submitted the required documents along with six other contractors for pre-qualification. The company later received a letter about its qualification for the award of the contract.
However, he said, the defendant was now going to offer the contract to some other company, which had least financial and technical capability.
He argued that the defendant had violated relevant laws and the Sindh government, being a shareholder in the project, had taken no notice of the illegality.
He asked the court to declare the notification, which declared the plaintiff as not qualified for the contract, illegal, unlawful and based on mala fide intentions.
He also requested the court to bar the defendants permanently from giving the contract to what he called incompetent and unqualified contractors.
After hearing the argument, the court issued a notice to the defendants for February 6 and also granted a stay against the contract.