Board members in question yet to answer to ministryThree Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) board members, who have been accused of obstructing the process of ending loadshedding, have gone out of contact after the Ministry of Energy started the process to sack them.
Three Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) board members, who have been accused of obstructing the process of ending loadshedding, have gone out of contact after the Ministry of Energy started the process to sack them.
As per the directive from the Ministry of Energy, Energy Secretary Anup Kumar Upadhya, also the chairman of the NEA, on Friday wrote to the three board members in question—Manoj Kumar Mishra, Laxman Prasad Agrawal and Suraj Lamichhane—to furnish clarification within seven days.
They have been asked to clarify why they should not be removed from NEA’s board for holding a board meeting in an illegal manner and preparing false minute and obstructing the reform process initiated by NEA Managing Director Kulman Ghising.
The trio is yet to receive the letter, a reliable source at the ministry told the Post.
“Currently, Agrawal is out of Nepal and his wife refused to receive the letter. Other two board members are out of touch,” the source said. The ministry, according to the source, now will publish a public notice on Tuesday, asking them to furnish clarification within seven days.
Earlier, Minister for Energy Janardan Sharma had directed Energy Secretary Upadhya to sack the three members if their response is found unsatisfactory.
One of the charges levelled against the three is holding the board meeting in an illegal manner. “The three were not authorised to call the alleged 741st board meeting, as it was not on the agenda,” reads the letter issued to the trio. “Also, the NEA Act doesn’t allow any board member to call board meetings without the approval of NEA chairman.”
The trio is also accused of sending the minute of the so-called board meeting to Ghising, which said the NEA managing director had taken unilateral decisions while signing power purchase agreement (PPA) with India and transferring or appointing staff at NEA projects and subsidiary companies. Ghising should seek board’s approval before taking such decisions, the minute further read.
The letter, a copy of which has been obtained by the Post, has also accused the three of obstructing reform process initiated by the NEA by refusing to sign minutes of the earlier board meetings, whose decisions were endorsed by a majority.
Lamichhane, one of the three board members facing dismissal, however, has said the trio did not hold a separate board meeting. “The so-called board meeting was never held,” he claimed. “But three of us did express our concern through a separate minute, and we had forwarded it to the board and the management.”
Stating that initiatives taken by Ghising to end loadshedding is praiseworthy, Lamichhane said, “But we also want him to follow due process and abide by existing laws while taking major decisions.” For example, Lamichhane said, Ghising should have taken the board’s approval before finalising a deal with India to purchase electricity at a higher price.
While signing the PPA to import 30MW of electricity from India using Mahendranagar-Tanakpur transmission line, the price of electricity per unit was raised to IRs3.60 from IRs3.40, according to Lamichhane. “Ghising shouldn’t have taken the decision on his own,” said Lamichhane. The NEA management, in the meantime, has defended Ghising, saying charges levelled against him are baseless. “Ghising has not signed new PPA,” said an NEA official on condition of anonymity.