HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: The highly praised decision of erstwhile Energy Minister Gokarna Bista to appoint the Managing Director of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) on competitive basis has turned into a curse for the Authority due to the politics in the appointment process.
Today the NEA board decided to appoint Mahendra Lal Shrestha as the new acting chief. Shrestha is the third acting chief in last seven months.
After the first MD selected on competitive basis, Dipendra Nath Sharma resigned last November after serving only for three months, the government has not been able to select a new chief due to hassles in the selection process.
In last six months the acting chief has been running the financially ailing sole power monopoly of the government.
Soon after Sharma resigned, the erstwhile energy minister Post Bahadur Bogati started the selection process but it could not be completed after the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) asked the ministry to appoint the chief through the Public Corporation Direction Board (Sarbajanik Sansthan Nirdeshan Board) as it was established at that time with the purpose of selecting chiefs of various corporations.
After this, the process was scrapped by then energy minister Bogati and sent to the Corporation Direction Board and the board announced yet another vacancy for which 15 people applied.
But in the meantime, one of the general managers of NEA filed a writ against the appointment process by Corporation Direction Board. He had stated that the process of selection was illegal as the committee under the ministry of energy had set up different criteria than the criteria set up by the Nepal Electricity Authority Board.
A month ago, the Supreme Court issued a stay order to the Corporation Direction Board not to move further with the selection process. “There has been too much politics in the selection process and it seems the free competition process won’t work for this institution,” said an official at NEA.