KATHMANDU, April 3: Prime Minister KP Oli has expressed serious dissatisfaction over the directive issued by a parliamentary committee to suspend the ongoing process of awarding the contract for a section of the Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track project.
Addressing a function organized at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence in Baluwatar on Saturday to inaugurate the construction of 165 strategic roads across the country, Prime Minister Oli asked the parliamentary committee to think about the economic consequences of such a directive. “I want to make this appeal to all ministries, departments and other stakeholders concerned. Let’s keep a vigil [on the works] but not disturb the work. All our government bodies or other institutions should act responsibly while taking any such decisions,” he said.
The remarks of Prime Minister Oli come two days after the Parliamentary Account Committee (PAC) directed the government agencies concerned to suspend the ongoing process to award the contract worth Rs 25 billion, arguing that the contract was being awarded without any competitive bidding process. The parliamentary panel also concluded that the process to award the contract as a part of the second phase of the project was non-transparent and against the spirit of the Public Procurement Act.
Prime Minister Oli argued that it is important to look at the consequences of any directive to suspend the ongoing development work. “What are the areas that are likely to be affected if we give directives to suspend the work? How long does that decision push back the completion date of the project? What are the direct and indirect losses caused due to such decisions in the pace of development work? We need to keep all these things in mind,” the prime minister argued.
While taking strong exception to the duplicity of works and directives that hamper the pace of development works, Prime Minister Oli came down heavily on the activities of the parliamentary committees. “One parliamentary committee calls a meeting and conducts investigation. Another parliamentary committee issues directives. A number of other parliamentary committees conduct investigation, summon officials concerned and issue different directives on the same issue. And, all these things are done much before the actual works are started,” he vented his ire. “We need to seriously think about this type of work and the negative impacts they leave on the development works.”
Prime Minister Oli argued that parliamentary committees had a tendency to issue directives arbitrarily. “We may issue a directive not to build a bridge or other things. But what impact does that leave? What happens to the economy? If the parliamentary committee is convinced that there are cases of irregularities, they can simply write to the agencies concerned to look into the matter,” he added.