Legislature Parliament building in New Baneshwar. (Republica file photo)
KATHMANDU, Sept 12: A sub-committee constituted by the Industry, Commerce and Consumer Welfare Committee of the Legislature-Parliament has found that corruption has been committed in the institutional level in the purchase of land plots for the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) to increase its fuel storage capacity.
The NOC had purchased land plots in various places of the country for building petroleum storage facilities that can store petroleum products enough to last for three months.
A report prepared by the sub-committee after carrying out on-site study of the land plots states that government employees from the Secretary at the Ministry of Supplies and NOC officials to those of the land revenue office and the local Ward office in the districts are involved in this shady land purchase deal.
In Jhapa, for instance, the tender was not awarded to a person dealing in the sale and purchase of land who proposed to purchase land at lower price but the proposal of the one who proposed to buy land for the NOC at higher price has been approved. The lowest bidder had proposed Rs 890 thousand per kaththa land while the person whose proposal has been approved has proposed to buy land for the NOC at Rs 1.351 million.
Although the land in Sarlahi district has been purchased from the bidder who proposed to make available the land at the lowest rate, the facts regarding the rate is said to be fishy.
The government rate per kaththa of land at Netraganj in Sarlahi district, where the land for the NOC has been purchased, is Rs 33 thousand while the general transaction rate is Rs 1.810 million, as stated in a letter sent to NOC by the Netraganj VDC secretary Gopal Bahadur Thapa, according to the sub-committee coordinator, Subash Chandra Thakuri.
The report states that Secretary Thapa had sent the letter to NOC using the VDC Chief's stamp. The letter was only composed after the process of purchasing land in all four districts had started to call for bidding.
The land purchased is more than the one approved by the Board of Directors of the NOC to store the petroleum products, according to the report. In Jhapa, more than 24 bigha of land was purchased against the recommended around 5 to 20 bigha.
Similarly, more than 15 bigha of land was purchased in Sarlahi against 4 to 5 bigha recommended while around 24 bigha of land was purchased in Chitwan against 20 recommended.
Likewise, In Rupandehi, around 24 bigha of land was purchased against 15 recommended, according to the report.
The NOC was not given consent to sell the land, the study showed during the probe. The lands were purchased in the name of those presenting tender without mentioning the name of the officer who was not given power of attorney. RSS