Energy Minister reshuffles NEA board

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    KATHMANDU, APR 12 –

    NEA_BuldingThe Energy Ministry on Thursday reshuffled the Nepal Electricity Authority’s ( NEA ) Board of Directors. Energy Minister Umakanta Jha, who is also the board’s chairman, introduced four new faces on the board by suspending as many board members.

    The newly appointed NEA board members are Santosh Narayan Shrestha, Manoj Kumar Mishra, Laxman Agrawal and Bibek Tated. They have replaced Vishow Prakash Gautam, Mohan Raj Panta, Dambar Nepali and Tek Nath Acharya. The new appointments were made as per a minister-level decision, according to MoE officials.

    As per the NEA Act 1984, the eight-member NEA board should have one member each from consumers and industry, commerce or finance sectors, and two power sector specialists. Among the new board, Shrestha represents the finance sector, Mishra represents consumers, while remaining two are technical experts. Agrawal and Tated are former employees at the Ministry of Irrigation.

    MoE officials, however, expressed dissatisfaction over the ministry’s decision. “It has not been just 10 days since the minister assumed the NEA board chairmanship, and he has reshuffled the board,” said an official. “The decision has been taken within a day and most of the ministry officials are still unaware about it.”

    Minister Jha assumed NEA chairmanship a week ago after the Cabinet approved the resignation letter furnished by his predecessor Lila Mani Poudel. Poudel, who was appointed to the post in December 2012, resigned after Jha was appointed Energy Minister.

    As per the NEA Act, the energy minister or the energy minister for state automatically becomes the NEA chairman if the position is vacant. The new and former members have received their letters on Thursday. One of the outgoing board members blamed the minister for removing them without any reason despite their satisfactory performance.

    Another member said the minister had previously asked Vishow Prakash Gautam and Mohan Raj Panta to resign from the position. “But they refused to resign claiming the minister had no rights to ask them to resign as the current government has been formed to hold elections,” he said. “Fearing possible criticisms for removing only two members,

    the minister removed the four members.”

    NEA Managing Director Rameshwar Yadav, however, said the board reshuffle was natural and legitimate. “It is not a surprise move. Whenever a new minister comes, s/he appoints new board members with whom s/he feels comfortable to work,” he said.

    Also, being a minister of a neutral government, Jha might have preferred to appoint neutral personalities on the NEA board. The outgoing members represented the UCPN (Maoist).

    Source : The Kathmandu Post