KATHMANDU, May 15:
The Ministry of Energy (MoE) has forwarded the report of the high-level probe committee formed to study irregularities in five load distribution centers to Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) for further investigation into the issue and identification of the perpetrators.
“The ministry forwarded the report to NEA on Monday as per a secretary-level decision,” an official at MoE told Republica.
The government had formed the probe team after it was revealed that NEA´s load distribution centers in Itahari, Duhabi, Biratnagar, Dhankuta and Siraha illegally supplied electricity to 14 firms in Itahari-Biratnagar industrial corridor even during load-shedding.
The team had found massive irregularities in the distribution centers and had recommended to the government to conduct detailed investigation into the issue and identify officials and industrialists involved in the wrongdoing, the official added.
The probe concluded that officials at the five distribution centers unlawfully supplied round the clock electricity to 14 firms along Itahari-Biratnagar industrial corridor. There are around more than 300 factories in the corridor.
The committee had submitted its report to the ministry last week after conducting a field study. According to a member of the committee, it had looked into electricity supply schedule of the five distribution centers. “We found that those distribution centers supplied electricity to the 14 firms going against the nationwide load-shedding schedule,” the member said.
The government had formed the probe committee after the industrialists and locals complained about the wrongdoings of the five distribution centers at a meeting of the Nepal Business Forum (NBF) on March 25. They had also criticized Chief Secretary Lila Mani Poudel, who was also the chairman of NEA before the new government was formed, for overlooking the issue.
Poudel directed MoE to form the probe committee right after the meeting, the official added.
The firms that enjoyed round the clock power supply by influencing NEA officials at the distribution centers are Raghupati Jute Mill, Maruti Cements and Asian Thai Food, among others.
“Promoters of the 14 firms were found to have bribed officials at the distribution centers to ensure round the clock power supply at their factories,” the member of the probe team told Republica.
The probe committee led by Sundar Shyam Shrestha, deputy director general of the Department of Electricity development (DoED), had three officials from the ministry and a representative from the NEA as members.
Source : Republica