NRA seeks information on 6 Chinese firms from Chinese Embassy

Published On: July 23, 2018 08:31 AM NPT By: Rudra Pangeni  | @rudrapang

KATHMANDU, July 22: National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has sought information about six Chinese firms that have partnered with Nepali civil contractors to submit a bid for rebuilding of Dharahara.

The NRA wrote to the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday, seeking information about five Chinese firms -- ZIEC, CR5CEC, CFEC, GIETC and CICO. The NRA has also sought information about the sixth Chinese firm which had partnered with local firm Ashish Nirman Sewa even though the joint venture was disqualified after technical evaluation.

The NRA plans to spend Rs 4 billion to rebuild the ancient monument which was destroyed in the 2015 earthquakes.

It has sought information like work experience of the Chinese firms, their balance sheets, officials seals and bank guarantee, among others, to authenticate documents submitted by the joint ventures, according to an NRA official.

“We expect the Chinese Embassy to start authentication of those firms as requested by the Government of Nepal. We are hopeful of getting early response to our request,” Raju Manandhar, a joint secretary of NRA, told Republica.

Hours before opening financial proposals submitted by the joint ventures on July 10, the NRA received a complaint, questioning authenticity of the Chinese firms that have partnered with local builders. The process of evaluating financial proposal has been put on hold since then.

The new date of evaluating financial proposal has been set for July 31.

According to NRA officials, complaints were received against the Chinese firms through the Office of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers.

The five qualified candidates for the rebuilding of the 19th century monument are ZIEC- LAMA JV, CR5CEC- Swachchhanda JV, Kumar-CFEC JV, GIETC- Raman JV and CICO Kalika- Rasuwa JV. 
CICO-Kalika Rasuwa had registered complaints at the OPMCM on July 10, while another bidder GIETC-Raman JV filed registered a letter at OPMCM, claiming that the process of opening financial proposal was preplanned to thwart fair competition guided by prejudice. 

Organizing a press meet, Pawan Mahato, promoter of Raman Construction, had also claimed that they were offered ‘handsome amount of money’ to collude with other builders.

These construction companies have been lobbying with the concerned government officials and political leaders to influence the decision of awarding contract since then.

NRA officials say that the tussle between these companies was unlikely to end even after NRA takes a contract decision on July 31.

Though Kalika Construction and Raman Construction were earlier in the same group, Raman Construction walked away from the group of half a dozen civil contractors and applied on its own to rebuild Dharahara. It has also won a bid to rebuild the office of Nepal Rastra Bank in Thapathali. 

Sources privy to the development say Raman Construction deserted the group as part of its mission to become the biggest builder in the country ahead of Kalika Construction, which is owned by former minister for Forest and Soil Conservation Bikram Pandey, and Rasuwa Construction, which is owned by Nepali Congress lawmaker Mohan Acharya. 

All qualified bidders, including Raman Construction, and Sharma and Company Pvt Ltd, owned by Ramesh Sharma, have long been colluding in public procurement, bagging contracts worth about Rs 100 billion through project packaging and by influencing officials to prepare qualifications fit for them only.

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