Melamchi Project gets another jolt as contractor faces blacklist

Published On: August 11, 2019 03:00 AM NPT By: Himal Lamsal

KATHMANDU, Aug 11: High Himalaya-Raman JV, which was selected for tunnel and dam construction of the Melamchi Drinking Water Project, has been disqualified to work on the project due to blacklisting by the government's Public Procurement Monitoring Office.

Following a technical evaluation, Melamchi Drinking Water Development Committee had asked the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to permit the JV, along with Chinese company Sino-Hydro, to work on the project. If the ADB had given permission, the two would have got the contract.

The Public Procurement Monitoring Office had recently issued a notice about blacklisting Raman-Pappu JV, which also affects the High Himalaya-Raman JV. Not only Melamchi, but the blacklisting might also prevent Raman from working on another joint venture at Bheri Babai Diversion Multipurpose Project.

There is a legal provision that a company facing blacklisting cannot take contracts until it gets a clean chit. It seems the Melamchi Project, which was stuck in limbo for many years, has got another reason to be further delayed.

The notice of the monitoring office issued last Tuesday says: "The consequences would be negative if we give the responsibility of other procurement works to Raman-Pappu JV. So, they have not been allowed to participate in procurement work."

According to Keshav Prasain, director of the monitoring office, High Himalaya-Raman JV will not be able to take part in the contract bidding process until they get clearance from the blacklisting process.

"As per the sixth amendment of Public Procurement Regulation, any existing company, new company, existing firm, new firm, existing institution, or new institution under full or partial ownership of an individual, firm, institution or company that is facing the process of blacklisting cannot bid for a contract," Prasain said.

Earlier, as the Raman-Pappu JV could not work according to the contract on Postal Road, the Postal Road Directorate had asked the government to blacklist the company. As per the law, the decision about blacklisting will be made within 35 days from the date of issuance of public notice about it.

"As the Public Procurement Monitoring Office has already issued a public notice that the company can't participate in the new bidding process, the Melmachi Project is likely to be further delayed," according to Bhim Prashad Upadhayaya, former secretary of the Government of Nepal.

The project office had opened a tender bid to complete the tunnel works within 12 months and headworks within 15 months.

It is estimated that Rs 1.12 billion will be spent to complete the headworks and Rs 950 million to complete the tunnel works. Though 97 percent of the total work has been completed, Melamchi Project is stuck in limbo due to various reasons.

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