Patan court paves way to resume stalled solar project
Kathmandu, November 16
The Patan High Court has finally opened the door for the much delayed 25-megawatt Grid Solar Project, proposed to be constructed in Nuwakot district.
Issuing an interim order last week, the court has overturned the direction of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Legislature-Parliament to cancel the entire progress made in the project and begin the retender process.
On August 1, PAC had directed Ministry of Energy and Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) to retender and implement the project. However, World Bank Group (WBG) had expressed strong reservations against moving according to direction of PAC. World Bank is financing the $37-million project
Citing the letter issued by the WBG to NEA, Managing Director of NEA Kul Man Ghising, informed that the donor agency had already clarified that the contractor selection process has been completed as per the procurement guidelines of WBG and it would not give its approval for retendering the project.
“We are ready to move ahead as per the verdict of the court, and the implementation process will begin as soon as possible,” Ghising informed.
The PAC had instructed NEA to issue another tender for the project citing the power utility had breached the procurement rules while selecting the bidder to execute the project. Following the PAC’s direction, NEA had corresponded with the WBG regarding the decision of the parliamentary panel.
NEA had called a tender for installing solar panels with a capacity to generate 25 megawatts of energy during peak hours in April of 2015. However, because of PAC’s direction, the solar installation has been halted since seven months. “We had planned to generate energy from the project during this winter, but now the schedule has been pushed back by one year,” Ghising said.
The WBG and NEA had formed separate bid evaluation panels to expedite the project. Technical and financial proposals of the bidders were evaluated by NEA-formed Project Management Unit and independent panel formed by WBG, that is, Procurement Evaluation Panel. After the evaluation process, Risen Energy Co Ltd China was selected as contractor to execute the project.