Govt told to follow due process when awarding contractThe parliamentary Agriculture and Water Resources Committee has warned the Energy Ministry to follow due process when awarding the contract for the construction of the Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project amid reports that the government was planning to give it to China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) secretly.
The parliamentary Agriculture and Water Resources Committee has warned the Energy Ministry to follow due process when awarding the contract for the construction of the Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project amid reports that the government was planning to give it to China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) secretly.
The House panel on Thursday directed the ministry to go through a global bidding process. The committee said its attention had been drawn to media reports that the 1,200 MW hydropower project was being awarded to the Chinese company under the engineering, procurement, construction and finance model by the KP Sharma Oli-led government without following due process.
Committee chairman Gagan Thapa said the contractor for such a large project involving billions of rupees must be selected in a transparent manner. “This committee is vigilant over the issue,” said Thapa. “Any kind of irregularity will not be tolerated.”
Ministry officials, however, said they had no plans to award the contract to CGGC. They said that the ministry had only asked for the Chinese company’s profile after the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) instructed them to do so.
“We received written instructions from the PMO to collect details of the company along with a letter expressing its interest to develop the project,” Secretary Suman Sharma told lawmakers.
“Since it is a Chinese company, we thought of asking the Chinese Embassy for help and we wrote a letter to the Finance Ministry requesting it to communicate with it.”
Some officials said that the government had backtracked after stakeholders from all sides raised serious concern over the secret decision. The Budhi Gandaki has been touted as a key project to resolve the perennial power crisis in the country. The government has allocated a budget of Rs5.33 billion for the project’s development for this fiscal year.
The government has been charging an infrastructure tax of Rs5 per litre on petrol, diesel and aviation fuel to collect funds for the project’s construction.
The project is presently engaged in acquiring land. The district administration offices of Dhading and Gorkha have published a land seizure notice, freezing the ownership transfer of about 59,900 ropanis of land required for the project.
More than 8,000 households will be affected by the project, according to the latest report of the project development committee. The report states that the reservoir of the storage project will submerge 3,560 houses, so the residents will need to be resettled to an alternative location with proper compensation.
Likewise, 4,557 houses will be partially affected by the project, and proper compensation will have to be paid to the owners.
However, the construction of the massive project has been in limbo as the government is yet to come up with a clear policy regarding the distribution of compensation payment for the land acquired from locals. The project is expected to cost Rs250 billion.
Little progress in executing energy scheme
KATHMANDU: Implementation of the National Energy Crisis Reduction and Electricity Development Decade master plan has made little progress even five months after its announcement due to the lack of coordination among line ministries. Although 67 out of 99 points mentioned in the plan should have reached in the phase of implementation within three months of the announcement, it has not been materialised, the Parliamentary Agriculture and Water Resources Committee said on Thursday. The committee has directed the Energy Ministry to expedite works on Energy Crisis Reduction Bill so that it could be presented in this session of the Parliament.
For the third time in eight years, the government in February had declared energy emergency with an ambitious target to end power crisis within two years. The National Energy Crisis Reduction and Electricity Development Decade plan aims to add an additional 839MW of electricity in the next one year during the dry season. It also envisages generating 1,339MW during the wet season in the second year. (PR)