Members demand parliamentary committees be barred for members with conflict of interest
KATHMANDU, Sept 26: The parliament's Development and Technology Committee on Tuesday demanded answers from the government over the recent awarding of the Nepal Rastra Bank building construction contract to controversial contractor Pappu Construction.
The meeting decided to summon Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Planning Raghubir Mahasheth and the ministry's secretary on Wednesday to quiz them over the matter.
The lawmakers said that Pappu Construction, which is owned by ruling coalition party Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN) lawmaker Hari Narayan Rauniyar, has a bad track record in meeting project deadlines and the government has rewarded such contractor instead of taking action.
Rauniyar, who is also the member of the same parliamentary committee, was absent during Tuesday's meeting. “The government bodies concerned should give answers over the decision to reward a tainted contractor with a new contract,” said ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) lawmaker Yagya Raj Sunuwar.
The government last week decided to award the Rs 2.6 billion Nepal Rastra Bank contract to Pappu. Pappu is also one of the sub-contractors of the Dharahara restoration project.
"We need to investigate whether the tainted contractor is bagging major projects due to flaws in our laws or the government itself is involved in such decisions,” said NCP lawmaker Ram Kumari Jhakri.
Lawmaker Tulasi Thapa demanded revocation of the decision to award the NRB building contract to Pappu. Pappu was awarded the contract because it was the lowest bidder.
Lawmaker Shyam Shrestha demanded amendments to the public procurement laws so as to ensure that a qualified contractors win the contracts.
Meanwhile, the parliamentary committee members demanded that parliamentary committees should be barred for members with conflict of interest. Those making the demand included former minister and NCP lawmaker Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, NCP lawmaker Yagya Raj Sunuwar, and Rastriya Janamorcha lawmaker Durga Paudel among others.
Rauniyar of Pappu, Jip Chhiring Lama of Lama Construction and Bahadur Singh Lama of Himdung and Thokar construction companies are members of the parliament's Development Committee which is responsible for overseeingthe Ministry of Physical Infrastructure.