Dedicated Feeder Tariff Probe Delayed Due to Committee Reshuffle

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KATHMANDU, Feb 6: The inquiry committee formed to resolve the dedicated feeder and trunk line tariff dispute has started its work 15 days late. The Council of Ministers had formed an inquiry committee under the leadership of former Supreme Court  Justice Girish Chandra Lal on January 9.

The meeting of the Council of Ministers decided to form the committee under the leadership of ex-justice Lal with joint secretaries of the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation (MoEWRI) and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supply (MoICS) as members.

The members of the committee were changed later. MoEWRI Secretary Sushil Chandra Tiwari and MoICS Secretary Narayan Prasad Duwadi Sharma were later appointed as members of the committee.

An employee of the MoEWRI said that the dedicated feeder and trunk line tariff dispute resolution committee was not able to operate effectively due to the change of members of the committee.

“The investigation was delayed because the members of the investigation committee were changed several times,” he said.

Lal, the coordinator of the investigation committee, took the oath only on January 25. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Bishowambhar Prasad Shrestha administered the oath to the coordinator, former-Justice Lal. Nabin Raj Singh, joint secretary of the MoEWRI and a member of the secretariat of the inquiry committee, said that the inquiry committee formed to resolve the dispute of the dedicated feeder and trunk line tariff has now started its work.

Joint Secretary Singh said that the meeting of the Council of Ministers decided to form the committee on January 9, but the committee coordinator Lal said that the work was started only after taking oath on January 25.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal had instructed the MoEWRI and the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) to cut the power lines of 61 industries that did not pay the electricity dues despite using trunk lines and dedicated feeders.

On the day after the Prime Minister’s directive, i.e. on December 22, the NEA cut the power lines of four industries with the highest arrears. The NEA cut the line of 24 industrialists one after the other. Among them, Himal Iron and Steel, operating in Parwanipur under the Bara-Parsa Industrial Corridor, has started the repayment of outstanding bills through discounted billing for electricity consumption from dedicated and trunk lines. According to the NEA, it is yet to collect dues worth Rs 22.24 billion from 61 industrialists.

The Council of Ministers formed an inquiry committee headed by former justice Lal and decided to direct the NEA through the MoEWRI to reconnect the power lines until a decision is made by the Government of Nepal on the recommendation of the committee.

“The meeting of the Council of Ministers has given a mandate of only one month to the inquiry committee, it is uncertain whether the work can be done within a month,” said Singh, “But the committee is trying to do it within a month.”

Source : Republica