The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD) has sought clarification from Agriculture Inputs Company Ltd (AICL) for awarding the tender to import fertilisers to an under-qualified company.

The AICL had awarded the tender to import fertilisers to Joshi Biz House Pvt import fertilisers to Josh Ltd on Sunday, while around one-and-ahalf months ago the AICL itself had rejected its proposal after the private company had quoted higher amount than the estimated cost of importing fertilisers. On January 1, AICL had issued a tender to bring 30,000 tonnes of fertilisers.

Joshi Biz had submitted its proposal, which was subsequently rejected as it had quoted an amount higher than the estimated cost.

Back then Joshi Biz had proposed to bring fertilisers at Rs 1.07 billion. After that on February 1, AICL again issued a tender notice but did not receive any proposal. Then on February 14, AICL again called a tender in which two companies - Joshi Biz and Swiss Singapore Overseas Enterprises Pte Ltd, Dubai from UAE - had submitted their proposals.

An AICL source claimed that AICL awarded the tender to Joshi Biz for Rs 1.36 billion.

However, Managing Director of AICL Netra Bahadur Bhandari claimed that the tender process is still under discussion.

He claimed that they are evaluating the proposals and are yet to take a decision.

The AICL source, however, also claimed that the MoALD itself had directed AICL to reject the proposal of Joshi Biz on the first issued tender, while also put pressure to grant the contract to to grant the contract to it after the third tender notice. There is a difference of a whopping Rs 290 million between the first and second proposal of Joshi Biz.

Responding to this issue, MoALD Secretary Yogendra Karki claimed that the ministry does not have any role in the tender process.

Talking to The Himalayan Times today, Karki said, "Someone is trying to tarnish the image of MoALD.

We cannot influence any decision of other bodies even if they are under MoALD." He further said MoALD has asked AICL to submit its clarification on this issue as soon as possible.

Secretary Karki also said the fertiliser price has gone up in international market and thus, the price has been reset.

Meanwhile, AICL's MD Bhandari claimed that the procedure of awarding the contract was carried out by following all the legal processes based on the Public Procurement Act.

Difference of Rs 290 million between first and second proposal submitted by the company.

A version of this article appears in the print on February 18, 2021, of The Himalayan Times