KATHMANDU, Jan 5: BYD, the world-renowned electric vehicle manufacturer of China, has landed in controversy in Nepal after vehicles it supplied to the government here were found substandard.
After finding the five vehicles supplied in two lots not meeting the agreed specifications, the government has put on hold its plans to operate clean energy buses.
The first lot of two buses were inaugurated with fanfare on October 23 by Prime Minister KP Oli and other ministers. The PM and other ministers had traveled on the buses to their office that day.
These buses, and three others supplied later, have never operated again since.
During inspections the buses, which arrived via India were found failing to meet as many as 17 specifications, and the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation remains undecided what to do.
Meanwhile, the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has sought clarifications from the Ministry of Tourism why the buses are still not in operation weeks after their arrival here, according to a CIAA source.
An official of public relations division of Cimex Inc Pvt Ltd and Nepal agent of BYD, Sahil Tuladhar has provided the official comment on the matter from BYD to Republica. The statement claimed the media reports quoting government report are not true and said that the inspection of the buses is underway.
“The buses are still in process of inspection, it is normal to point out the finishing defect for a buyer to a supplier when during the inspection,” the statement said. The statement further says, “The correct way for the supplier is to rectify the finishing defects as soon as possible as per the buyer’s requirement and for a buyer is to give supplier to rectify the defects within a reasonable time. Only after that we can say yes or no.” Earlier, BYD had sold an electric car to the National Planning Commission. That was probably the first government purchase from the Chinese company.
Officials of Sajha Yatayat, the operator of the public transport buses, say that they are eager to start the electric bus service but they have not had any official information why there has been delay. The buses were purchased as part of the Asian Development Bank-financed Lumbini Clean Public Transport Project, under the Lumbini Development Trust. The cost of each bus is Rs 20 million.
The government recently announced it is to purchase and operate 300 electric buses on its own to ease traffic congestion in Kathmandu Valley and attract more people to public transport. Many in Kathmandu were taken by surprise when the first lot of electric buses brought in by the government failed to meet quality standards.