UNDP extends MoHA project for vested interest


Nearly a month after dumping its communication equipment on the premises of Ministry of Home Affairs, the United Nations Development Programme has forwarded a revised work plan to the ministry, saying it was going to extend its emergency preparedness project by five months under which the equipment could be utilised in emergency operation centres.

The UNDP’s move comes after MoHA refused to officially accept 200 VHF radio sets, which are still lying at MoHA, claiming that such communication equipment were never demanded by the ministry. “UNDP has submitted a work plan to extend the Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management Project till December, as the five-year-long project was supposed to end in July,” a highly-placed source in MoHA confirmed.

A narrative with revised work plan on Emergency Preparedness, Responses and Early Recovery programme under the CDRMP, which was forwarded to MoHA by UNDP yesterday, also includes distribution of Motorola radio sets to the EOCs by October, the source confirmed. The radio sets will undergo a VHF programming by the Nepal Police to make them fully operational at a cost of $500 within this month, states the revised work plan (August to December). “Three to four sets each will be distributed to all EOCs to connect them with the Nepal Police and Armed Police Force through radio communication system by October,” it adds.

Earlier, in an email, UNDP wrote to this daily claiming that VHF sets were temporarily placed on the National Emergency Operation Centre premises in consultation with the concerned NEOC officials, while NEOC chief Baburam Bhandari immediately dismissed UNDP claim. The UN agency had also mentioned that all procurement, including the radio sets, were part of the annual work plan and budget that is approved by CDRMP’s Project Executive Board, which is co-chaired by MoHA. “In fact, Emergency Preparedness and Response component of CDRMP, under which the VHF radio sets were procured, is led by MoHA,” it added.

The radio sets are meant to equip the 57 EOCs in the districts and regions, while these centres, established with support from the project, played a critical role in relaying information immediately after the earthquake, the UN body claimed. The CDRMP has reportedly spent more than $14 million in its purported project duration of the last five years, while its official webpage was also suspended since last month.

Not only the radio sets that will be distributed during the extended period of the project, which aims to spend additional $116,500, MoHA officials also recounted that the UNDP had also tried to fix a battery back-up worth over one million rupees last year in the name of equipping the ministry, although the ministry had never ever experienced load-shedding. “The UNDP later installed the power back-up system at the National Planning Commission after its month-long attempts had failed to place the same in MoHA,” a senior official told this daily.

According to him, it’s a major drawback of the UN’s desk model projects, including the CDRMP, which ignores the ground reality but always encourages funding agencies to spend money on its own.

UN body’s spending plan

Trainings, seminars and workshops                               $82,000

Strengthening EOCs                                                         $17,500

Delivery and set-up equipment                                      $10,000

NEOC website updgrading and other equipment        $7,000