House committee for fast-tracking new Melamchi contract process

Published On: January 29, 2019 08:47 AM NPT By: Republica


KATHMANDU, Jan 29: Parliament’s Development and Technology Committee has directed the government to make concrete work plan to complete the remaining works of Melamchi Water Supply Project and award the contract through special procurement provision. 

The government is asked to award the remaining tasks through a fast-track process of contract by using a provision of ‘special condition’ in the procurement.

The cabinet meeting can decide to award the contract via special condition provision through some formalities of short notice tender bid, according to the Public Procurement Act 2007 and Public Procurement Rules 2008. 

The committee has asked the government to do so after the process of contract termination is formalized after February 4. 

The ministry and project management is also asked to furnish all the recent meeting minutes including the names of the participants in the meeting by Melamchi Water Supply Development Board by the committee within 15 days. The project management also needs to provide implementation status of all the decisions made in the project. Two officials having important roles in implementation of the project, Kathmandu Mayor Bidhya Sundar Shakya and Finance Ministry representative Sushil Pandey, both of whom are members in the parliamentary committee, have not attended its meeting in recent years. 

LAWMAKERS GRILL GOVT OFFICIALS OVER MELAMCHI CONTRACTORS’ EXIT 
Lawmakers grilled government officials over the exit of the Italian contractor Cooperativa Muratori e Cementisti (CMC) di Ravenna from the project site. 

Many lawmakers expressed doubts on the government officials’ briefing to the committee. Their response came after the government officials, including project director of Melamchi Water Supply Project Surya Kandel, stated that the contractor left the country because of its own reason. 

Kandel said that the contractor left the country as it had already applied for insolvency in Italy and could no more handle the project. But lawmakers were not satisfied with the answer and asked for further details. 
President of the committee Kalyani Kumari Khadka blamed the ministry and project management for not being serious about their work. Khadka said the project management did not paid bills of the contractor and forced it to leave the country. 

Secretary of Ministry of Water Supply Gajendra Thakur claimed that the contractor had no intention of paying its own bills out of the money it received. 

“As per contract, the contractor used to take 72 percent of each payment to Italy, but it did not bring the money back here even to pay its suppliers and sub-contractors,” said Thakur. 

Lawmaker Ram Bahadur Bisi also asked ministry and project management why the contractor was not given payment. Lawmaker Ganesh Kumar Pahadi also blamed the project management for failing to do the needful in the project though it was an important project for the country. 

Meanwhile, lawmaker Jip Chhiring Lama said: “There is policy issue in this contract. Such policy of allowing to take money home without paying bills of the project work should be revised.”

Bira Motors using vehicles purchased with tax exemption

Bira Motors, a private supplier for Italian Contractor for Melamchi, has been using vehicles imported with tax discount. The government had permitted Cooperativa Muratori e Cementisti (CMC) di Ravenna to import vehicles for the use of project but the supplier has been using the vehicles.

The number of vehicles it is using is not disclosed. Lawmaker Ganesh Pahadi raised the issue at the Development and Technology Committee of the parliament on Monday. Government officials admitted it and pledged to recover the vehicles from the company.

Promoter of Bira motor is Dinesh Shrestha. The committee has also directed the ministry and project management to recover all the vehicles from the suppliers.


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