NEA board divided on unlimited power to MD

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    KATHMANDU, Jan 22

    NEA_Board_allThe board members of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) are involved in a dispute about providing unlimited financial power to the managing director (MD). The effort of Chairman Bishwa Prakash Pandit to amend the regulations has failed after four of the seven board members have opposed the proposal about that.

    MD Arjun Kumar Karki had proposed amendment of the regulations with a provision of unlimited rights vested in him under instruction of Pandit who is also energy secretary. The NEA regulation allows the MD to only spend up to Rs 500 million, and spending of more than that amount needs approval from the board. The four board members during the discussion on the proposal have taken a stand that rights should be delegated, and not just for money, but only after formulating guidelines completing due procedure. Chairman Pandit, MD Karki, and Finance Secretary Shanta Raj Subedi are in favor of getting the proposal approved at any cost while board members Laxman Prasad Agrawal, Santosh Narayan Shrestha, Vivek Tater and Manoj Mishra have not signed in the proposal.

    Chairman Pandit is in minority after the majority members have expressed disagreement. The promoters have also accused Chairman Pandit of signing at first though he has to give approval only after all the board members have signed. “We maintain that rights to spend should only be given after formulating guidelines as per the Public Procurement Act,” a board member told Karobar. “Chairman is trying to have his way by unilaterally bringing the proposal. But the proposal cannot be implemented as the majority members have rejected it,” the member added.  These board members accuse that MD Karki has made decision about more than Rs 1 billion bypassing the board in recent times. The NEA Act has made the board powerful and decisions can be implemented only after approval by majority members. The annual transaction of NEA is over Rs 25 billion.

    The board members claim that MD Karki has approved the cost of Rs 1 billion for constructing a multiplex in the land of NEA at Ratna Park and sent the proposal for wires for Hetauda-Duhabi Transmission line and construction of sub-station worth over Rs 4 billion directly to the World Bank (WB) for approval bypassing the board. They have also accused him of appointing board members in subsidiary companies of NEA–Chilime Hydropower Company Limited and Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Limited. “It will not be right to speak about the issue as it is an internal matter,” Chairman Pandit said claiming that the decision has been taken with majority.

    Source : Baburam Khadka / Karobar