3 NEA board members prevent MD from setting up subsidiaries

Published On: December 3, 2016 12:00 AM NPT By: Rudra Pangeni  | @rudrapang

Seeking CIAA intervention in such issues is wrong: Former CIAA chief 
KATHMANDU, Dec 3: While the new management at Nepal Electricity Authority has received accolades from the public for reducing power cuts significantly, three members of the NEA board have opposed a number of key agenda items tabled by Managing Director Kulman Ghising at a board meeting.

Ghising had said that it was urgent to set up subsidiary companies to construct new hydropower plants, but the three board members obstructed him.

The three --Suraj Lamichhane, Manoj Mishra and Laxman Agrawal--have also questioned the MD's authority to transfer employees.

The three board members have written separate minutes of the baord meeting held on November 25 and asked Ghising to implement it. They also forwarded the minutes to the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA).  The board has seven members.

In the minutes, the three have objected to the MD's decisions on employee transfers and the signing of power purchase agreements, among other things, saying that only the board can decide such issues. 

"It's a wrong practice to take such minor issues to the CIAA," said Surya Nath Upadhyaya, former CIAA chief commissioner.

Ghising said the three board members have obstructed his plans to establish subsidiary companies for generating electricity in a fast mode. 

MD Ghising had proposed setting up subsidiary companies for generating power on the  Upper Arun, Dhudkoshi, Tamakoshi-5 and Rahughat rivers, but the three disagreed and  instead raised other issues. They said the MD is not authorized to transfer employees or sign power purchase agreements without the approval of the board. 

There have been no power cuts in Kathmandu Valley since the past four weeks and power cuts outside the Valley have also been hugely reduced. With the continuous power supply, industries are mulling expansion and hiring of more manpower. Hoteliers have reported that their profits will increase because they no longer use diesel to generate electricity, which is 2.5 times more expensive than the NEA price.

The three board members also teamed up with trade unions over the issue of employee transfers. Two of the trade unions have submitted a memorandum to Energy Secretary Anup Prasad Upadhyaya.  

Talking to Republica, board member Lamichhane  said they had no choice other than to report to the CIAA as Ghising had ignored their agenda. 

The  MD is the secretary of the board and the finance secretary and Chandra Tandan are the other members. 

Board chair decides to seek clarifications from three members 
Energy Secretary Anup Kumar Upadhyaya, who is also chair of Nepal Electricity Authority, has decided to seek written clarifications from the three board members within seven days.

"The three have attempted to bring the board into disrepute  though the issues that they have could be resolved amicably as  always," said Upadhyaya.

The three held a separate meeting on November 27 and  signed its minutes. They forwarded a copy of their decisions to the CIAA.

Minister for Energy Janardan Sharma directed Secretary Upadhayaya to seek clarifications for  'breaching' the normal practice of putting forth their grievances. 

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