KATHMANDU, Sept 8
Nalsing Gad Hydropower Project Development Committee has selected two foreign companies blacklisted by the World Bank (WB) to take part in the bidding process for detailed engineering design for the project.
The WB has blacklisted SNC Lavalin and Poyry Energy Limited for 3-10 years deeming them to have cheated in different countries in the name of consultancy. Both of these companies cannot participate in a project built in any country with investment of the WB, Asian Development Bank (ADB), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and other donors. The Public Procurement Monitoring Office of Nepal has already informed the body concerned to not select any company blacklisted by the WB, ADB and other donors. But the committee has selected the blacklisted companies ignoring the instruction.
The detailed study of the project itself looks to be under risk as the blacklisted companies have been selected sidelining financially and technically strong companies. The WB has blacklisted SNC Lavalin from April 17, 2013 to April, 2023 on charge of forgery. Over two dozen subsidiary companies of the company, that have worked in different countries, have also been blacklisted for 10 years, according to the WB’s website. Similarly, Poyri has been blacklisted for three years starting from June 20, 2012. Xayaburi reservoir project of Laos had suffered a setback due to Poyri Group. Poyri has now asked it to be removed from the blacklist claiming that it has undergone prompt corrective work.
Chairman of the committee Sher Bahadur Shahi, who claims that good companies have been selected, expressed ignorance about blacklisting of the two companies. “We will see. We will take action against then if it is so. We will not include blacklisted companies,” he assures. The committee publishing a notice on August 28 had informed selection of SNC, Poyry, Nippon KOEI, SMEC International and AF Consultant. Two of these five companies have not kept domestic consultants. The expression of intent sought by the committee mentions that domestic consultants will obtain more marks.
At least seven companies had to be selected from among the bidders but the committee has selected just five including the blacklisted duo. The competition has been reduced to three companies as the blacklisted duo cannot submit proposal. Sources at the committee claim that the blacklisted companies have been intentionally selected with an aim of selecting one of the remaining three companies.
Tractebel Engineering (France), that is currently doing detailed engineering for Budi Gandaki, Lahmeyer International (Germany), that is doing supervision of 456-MW Upper Tamakoshi, and Electricite de France (EDF), that is currently preparing the master plan for transmission lines in Nepal, and other internationally renowned consultants have been prohibited by the committee to take part in the bidding process. The committee had published the notice for pre-selection for the first time on December 2, 2013. It had then amended the expression of interest twice after that, and 14 international companies had submitted expression of interest by February 16, 2014. Many of these 14 companies have already worked in Nepal.
The committee aims to finish the project in seven years. There is little chance of completing the project by the end of 2020 as per the schedule after the wrong decision in selecting the consultants. Feasibility study has put the annual generation from the project at 1.40 billion units. The estimated project cost is around Rs 73.73 billion (US$ 737.30 million) as per the cost of 2012.
Source : Karobar Daily