KATHMANDU, Feb 19: A dispute has surfaced between the Minister for Water Supply Bina Magar and Secretary Gajendra Kumar Thakur over whether to assign ongoing Melamchi Drinking Water Project to the Italian CMC Company yet again.
During a video interview, Secretary Thakur accused Minister Bina Magar of putting him in trouble by giving him verbal order to award the remaining work of Melamchi project to Italian contractor while he wanted a written order in advance.
He claimed that there has been a transaction of around four billion rupees involving drinking water business in the Kathmandu Valley a year.
“This transaction will stop immediately once the Melamchi project comes into operation. Therefore, some interest and lobby groups do not want to see the project completed on time. I didn’t want to give undue advantage to those groups,” he added.
The government has already scrapped the contract with the Italian company after it failed to accomplish the task on the extended deadline.
The government had seized the passports of the CMC company’s eight staffers including project manager Christian Greco when they were flying back home to celebrate Christmas in December, last year. The Government of Nepal allowed them to go home a week later. However, they did not come back to Nepal.
The government seized property worth around Rs 7 billion including staffers’ salary.
“Minister has ordered us to give the money to the CMC Company. There is no guarantee that the company will do the work,” said Thakur.