Dec 3, 2016– The Energy Ministry has started the process of sacking three board members of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) on charges of obstructing the reform process initiated by NEA Managing Director Kulman Ghising, who is credited for getting rid of hours-long power cuts from the Kathmandu Valley.
Energy Minister Janardan Sharma has directed ministry officials to seek written clarification from the three NEA board members—Manoj Kumar Mishra, Laxman Prasad Agrawal and Suraj Lamichhane—after the trio allegedly held a board meeting and issued a minute calling on Ghising not to take decisions without getting a nod from the board of directors, a highly placed source at the ministry told the Post.
The three, according to Sharma, should be dismissed if their response was found unsatisfactory. He made this statement during a meeting with Energy Secretary Anup Kumar Upadhyay, who is also the NEA chairman, on Friday.
The trio on Wednesady allegedly sent the minute of their “board meeting” to Ghising, which said Ghising had taken unilateral decisions while signing power purchase agreement (PPA) with India, and while transferring or appointing staff at NEA projects and subsidiary companies. The minute said Ghising should seek board’s approval before taking such decisions.
The ministry source, however, said the so-called board meeting held by the trio was not legally valid as it was not called by the board chairman.
This implies formal procedure was not followed before calling the meeting. Also, the minute does not contain signatures of the chairman and member secretary, the source added.
“As the meeting itself was illegal, there is sufficient legal ground to sack the three board members,” said the source, adding, “It is clear that the motive of the three was to obstruct the reform initiatives taken by the Energy Ministry and NEA.” The government has full authority to sack the board members, if they are found guilty, the source added.
NEA management, in the meantime, has defended Ghising saying the charges levelled against him were baseless. “Ghising has not signed new PPA with foreign companies,” said an NEA official on condition of anonymity.
“The recently signed PPA to import 30 MW of electricity through Mahendranagar-Tanakpur transmission line was continuation of the previous agreement.”
Similarly, the MD has the right to transfer or appoint staff at projects and subsidiary companies, the source informed.