Kathmandu, May 12
The Supreme Court today stayed Nepal Telecommunications Authority’s decision to not renew the agreement it had signed with United Telecom Limited in laying optical fibre in provinces 4 and 5.
A single bench of Justice Purushottam Bhandari issued the interim order against NTA’s May 5 decision until the next hearing.
The court, upon hearing arguments from both sides in the next hearing, will decide whether or not it should continue the stay order.
UTL had signed an agreement with Nepal Telecom Authority two years ago committing to lay optical fibre in approximately 2,400-km area in provinces 4 and 5. UTL had inducted Tele Infra Limited Nepal as its joint venture company for the task.
Advocate Ashish Adhikari, who represented petitioner UTL and Tele Infra Limited Nepal today in the court said his client moved the court after NTA refused to renew the contract for the project.
The government had announced on February 21 that it had cancelled the agreement with UTL, saying that the telecommunication service provider had failed to honour the agreement’s term of completing the project within two years.
According to Adhikari, UTL then wrote a letter to NTA inquiring about the government’s decision, but NTA told UTL to carry out the project work as it had received no information from the government on cancellation of the project. “We procured goods and hired people for the project as NTA gave a green signal. However, all of a sudden, on May 7 NTA told us that it would not renew our contract,” Adhikari said.
UTL explained to the court that it failed to complete the project on time mainly because of NTA’s delay in making an advance payment for the project. According to UTL, NTA provided the money only on February 19 after it had secured an order from the Patan High Court for the same.
As per the agreement, the government was supposed to provide Rs 2 billion to UTL and UTL was supposed to invest Rs 2.5 billion in the project.
A version of this article appears in print on May 13, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.