KATHMANDU, March 8: Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Ltd (KUKL) is set to get a new chairman.
The fifth Annual General Meeting of KUKL, which concluded on Tuesday, decided that the next board meeting of the water utility will select a new chairman, multiple sources told Republica.
Incumbent chairman Suresh Kumar Basnet has signed the minutes of the meeting, they said. This means he will cooperate in the process to elect new chairman, the sources added.
Basnet had been showing reluctance to quit despite repeated efforts by the board members to oust him. He had even deferred court cases against him many times to continue in the post. Last month, he had signed a reconciliation agreement with other board members, agreeing to withdraw his case from the court. He represents Nepal Chamber of Commerce, which, together with different private sector organizations, owns 15 percent stake in KUKL, in the KUKL board.
KUKL law states that the board of directors can elect new chairman through majority vote every two years.
At a time when stakeholders have questioned the capacity of KUKL to distribute Melamchi water, which is expected to reach Kathmandu Valley by October this year, the KUKL management has remained largely ineffective because of Basnet's highhandedness, the sources added.
Even trade unions of KUKL had demanded Basnet's resignation.
The board meeting of KUKL held last month had set a two-year term for board members and chairperson. Sources say that Basnet had been maintaining that the decision will come into effect for new appointments only.
Republica has learnt that Minister of State for Water Supply and Sanitation Deepak Khadka had played a key role in electing a new chairman at the earliest.
The AGM has also asked the private sector shareholders to send their representatives to KUKL on consensus or on rotation basis. Basnet, however, has written a note of dissent on the decision.
At the meeting, representatives of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Lalitpur Chamber of Commerce and Industries and Bhaktapur Chamber of Commerce had demanded their representation in the KUKL board.
Basnet has been representing the private sector in KUKL since the establishment of KUKL around nine years ago.
Addressing the ninth anniversary of KUKL earlier on February 13, Basnet had complained that Asian Development Bank was lobbying to remove him from the post.