KATHMANDU, May 7: A government decision to procure 20 million units of energy-efficient LED lamps has brewed controversy.
A Nepal-India bilateral meeting held in February had decided to purchase 10 million LED units from an Indian government undertaking. But the NEA placed orders for 10 million additional LED units. The decision to place purchase order without going for bidding has raised suspicion of corruption.
After getting go-ahead from the cabinet on Thursday, NEA has started the process to purchase the bulbs from Energy Efficiency Services Limited of India.
Earlier on February 14, the Joint Steering Committee meeting co-chaired by energy secretaries of Nepal and India had decided to purchase 10 million LED units from India.
Procurement law allows the government to purchase goods and services without going for open competition only if the agreement is of government to government (G2G) nature.
Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Minister for Energy Janardan Sharma defended the decision, saying that the import of cheap LED bulbs not only helps to improve demand side management by saving about 201 MW, or 2,846 GWh of energy, but also reduces energy consumption bill of consumers.
Sharma argued that the decision has been taken to ensure uninterrupted power supply to consumers. He also denied allegations of corruption.
A statement issued by the energy ministry says that each bulb costs IRs 65, or Rs 104, and that price fixed by NEA will be 25 percent lower than the market price.
Meanwhile, Sharma did not entertain any questions on the procurement decision raised by media persons.