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CIAA seizes Itahari sub-metropolis documents

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ITAHARI — The office of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has seized all documents of the Itahari sub-metropolis related to procurement of CFL bulb sets acting on a complaint of corruption of over Rs 6 million in the deal.

The Procurement Section of the Sub-Metropolis had purchased CFL bulbs and its sets worth Rs 9.7 million during the period from mid-July to 24 October 2017.

The anti-graft body came up with the action being based on a complaint that the sub-metropolis was involved in the corruption of millions of rupees in collaboration with traders while purchasing CFL bulbs and sets.

It came to light that no bidding process was followed in the procurement of the bulbs and sets.

CIAA has started investigation into the corruption scam that occurred immediately after the newly-elected people’s representatives were in place.

It is shared that the elected people’s representatives, office-bearers of Chamber of Commerce and employees of the sub-metropolis were also involved in the CFL bulb procurement scam.

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Economy

Govt decides to award Budhi Gandaki Hydel project to Chinese firm again

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KATHMANDU — The government has decided to award contract for the construction of the 1,200-megawatt Budhigandaki hydropower project, a national pride project, to China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) once again.

A Cabinet meeting on Friday has decided to award the contract for the project to CGGCL reverting the erstwhile Sher Bahadur Deuba government’s decision to develop the 1200MW project with internal resources.

The Cabinet meeting has directed the Energy Ministry to initiate the process to award the project to the Chinese company.

Following the government decision, the Energy Ministry will now invite the Chinese company for talks and prepare a draft of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) before signing it, according to multiple sources at the ministry.

As per the Cabinet decision, the ministry has been asked to hold talks with the Gezhouba, prepare a proposal, and strike a deal to execute the $2.5 billion reservoir project.

Earlier on May 15, 2017, the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government had awarded the contract to construct the Budhigandaki project to CGGCL, juat nine days before he was to resign from the PM’s post.

The Dahal-led government had awarded the contract to CGGCL at a cost of Rs 260 billion as per a study carried out by a French company, Tractebel Engineering.

The agreement, however, invited controversy as the project was handed to the Chinese company without initiating a competitive bidding process.

The Budhi Gandaki hydel project has been touted as a key project to resolve the perennial power crisis in the country. The government has allocated Rs18 billion for compensation payments and operational expenses for this fiscal year.

The Gorkha and Dhading district administration offices are currently distributing compensation to owners of the land taken over by the project.

More than 8,000 households will be affected by the project, according to the latest report.

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