PAC LOBBIES TO AWARD CONTRACT

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    Lawmakers in Public Accounts Committee (PAC) are crossing their jurisdiction to give contracts to contractors of their choice.

    The lawmakers, including the chairman are now debating about how to give contract for the transmission line in Solu corridor to a desired company after Jaguar Oversea of India complained with the PAC. The elected people’s representatives are blatantly lobbying to hand the contract to the company despite bodies like Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), National Vigilance Center (NVC), and other government bodies in place to investigate irregularities in contract.

    The PAC, similarly, has stopped construction in Chameliya Hydropower Project citing variation order. Just five percent of the work remains but the project, that was scheduled to be completed two years ago, is facing uncertainty after the PAC stopped work. The transmission line in Solu corridor is also facing uncertainty due to maneuverings to award the contract.

    Development Committee, and Agriculture and Water Resource Committee of the parliament have an important role to facilitate development projects while the PAC has to facilitate in recovery of the unaccounted expenditure (beruju) pointed by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG). But members in the PAC Dr Minendra Rijal, Rajan KC, Dipak Giri, Usha Gurung and others are trying to award the contract to Jaguar. PAC Chairman Janardan Sharma, on request of Rijal, has instructed to stop work at Solu corridor.

    The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) had awarded the contract to Mohan Energy Corporation of India deeming it stronger financially and technically. But PAC members, reportedly under financial influence of Jaguar, are lobbying to revoke the contract of Mohan and award it to technically unfit Jaguar saying that it had bid Rs 280 million lower.

    “The contract must be awarded to the lowest bidder. They must justify the grounds for awarding the contract to Mohan,” Rijal argued. Another lawmaker Ramhari Khatiwada claimed he is not in favor of any contractor while chairman Sharma said decision on the issue will be taken on Wednesday. “I cannot comment on the issue now,” he added.

    PAC members during the meeting held on Thursday and Friday had opined that the contract with Mohan should be annulled due to errors in the process and awarded to Jagaur. The Supreme Court has already given its verdict in favor of former energy minister Radha Kuamri Gyawali in the writ petition she filed about the contract, but PAC members are lobbying for Jaguar stating that the full text of the verdict has yet to arrive.

    The NEA will be forced to pay Rs 1.38 billion in compensation to 23.5 MW Solu and 82 MW Lower Solu if the transmission line is not completed by July, 2018. The power purchase agreements (PPA) signed by the NEA with promoters of the projects require the NEA to pay compensation for 45 percent of generated electricity if the transmission line is not completed within scheduled time. Different other projects with combined installed capacity of 215 MW are also under-construction or preparing to start construction in the corridor.

    The NEA has already signed contract agreement with Mohan and sent that to the Export Import (Exim) Bank of India for final approval.

    Source : Karobar Daily