Consultant hiring process scrapped for Dharahara reconstructionThe National Reconstruction Authority has scrapped the procurement process of a consultant to supervise the reconstruction works of Dharahara after a company that emerged first in evaluation process was indicted in a corruption charge.
The National Reconstruction Authority has scrapped the procurement process of a consultant to supervise the reconstruction works of Dharahara after a company that emerged first in evaluation process was indicted in a corruption charge.
A joint venture of ERMC (P) Ltd and East West Engineering Service (P) Ltd had come first during the technical and financial evaluation carried out by the National Reconstruction Authority recently, for the job of consultant.
But on December 7 last year, the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority had filed a corruption case against 21 individuals, including Managing Director Uddhav Raj Chaulagain, official representative Hemnidhi Sharma and team leader Arun Kumar Chaudhary of M/S ERMC-ITECO Nepal JV over substandard construction and repeated collapses of the main canal of the Sikta Irrigation Project.
“We issued a notice related to scrapping of the whole procurement process of a consultant on Friday,” said Dhruba Poudyal, senior divisional engineer at NRA. “We took this decision after various government agencies recommend against awarding the contract to the joint venture of ERMC (P) Ltd and East West Engineering Service (P) Ltd.”
The NRA had sought opinion of Prime Minister’s Office and Public Procurement Monitoring Office as well as some experts.
The authority was in confusion on how to deal with the issue as the Public Procurement Act does not have specific provision to deny contract to a bidder that has faced a corruption charge. But the public entity can deny contract to any bidder who is convicted of corruption by the court.
“The issue has now been settled following the scrapping of the entire procurement process,” said Poudyal. “We will soon issue a fresh tender notice.”
The contractor has already started work on the foundation to rebuild the famous heritage site which was destroyed in the 2015 earthquake.
Raman Construction Pvt Ltd and its Chinese Joint Venture Partner GIETC was awarded contract of reconstructing the iconic tower in first week of September last year. The reconstruction work is expected to complete within the next two years.
The NRA had initiated the process of hiring a consultant company with expertise on heritage construction to ensure that the contractor follows the design and maintains the quality required on the reconstruction project. The cost of consultancy service is just over Rs50 million, according to NRA officials.
Considering the time it will take to appoint a new consultant, Poudyal said, the NRA is preparing to hire two individual experts—a structural engineer and an expert on heritage as a stop-gap measure.