WB is likely to scrap so­lar project

People's Review - - NEWS - By Our Re­porter

Nepal is likely to lose 37 mil­lion dol­lar so­lar plant project funded by the World Bank due to cor­rupt of­fi­cials at the Nepal Elec­tric­ity Author­ity and a de­ci­sion of the par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee to in­struct the NEA to scrap the deal with con­trac­tor.

The project which should have im­ple­mented 18 months back has not been im­ple­mented yet when the NEA de­layed to award the con­tract.

When the Par­lia­men­tary Com­mit­tee on Public Ac­counts smelt rat in award­ing t the con­tract and in­ves­ti­gated into the mat­ter only to find faulty pro­cure­ment process.

The World Bank in Fe­bru­ary 2015 had agreed to pro­vide $130 mil­lion to build so­lar sta­tions to the gov­ern­ment to sup­ply elec­tric­ity in the Kathmandu Val­ley and re­duce elec­tric­ity leak­age. Out of that amount, $37 mil­lion was ear­marked for in­stal­la­tion of so­lar plants at De­vighat and Tr­ishuli of Nuwakot district.

Although so­lar plants' in­stal­la­tion was sup­posed to be com­pleted within a year of sign­ing the aid agree­ment, NEA took around two years to award the con­tract, as the en­tire con­trac­tor se­lec­tion process was dragged into con­tro­versy.

Pre­vi­ous NEA man­ag­ing direc­tor Mukesh Raj Kafle had uni­lat­er­ally de­cided to hire a Chi­nese com­pany to build the project.

After the Chi­nese con­trac­tor was deemed “tech­ni­cally un­qual­i­fied”, new NEA Man­ag­ing Direc­tor Kul­man Ghis­ing de­cided to hand over the project to Rai­jin En­ergy.

Kafle had granted the con­tract to the ‘un­qual­i­fied' con­trac­tor with a hope of re­ceiv­ing more com­mis­sion.

But his greed is likely to cause the with­drawal of the project which will be key to ad­dress the prob­lem of power out­age if im­plemeted.

But Ghis­ing was barred from hir­ing Rai­jin, as a com­plaint was lodged at the Par­lia­men­tary Com­mit­tee on Public Ac­counts stat­ing the con­struc­tion cost of Rs.3.7 bil­lion pro­posed by Rai­jin was Rs. 680 mil­lion more than the cost pro­posed by the con­trac­tor favoured by Kafle. NEA Chief Ghis­ing said the project is likely to be aban­doned as the World Bank is highly un­sat­is­fied with the time over­run. “Now, the project will go ahead only if the gov­ern­ment de­cides to build the project on its own,” said Ghis­ing.

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