NC(D) briefs alliance leaders on Melamchi

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, June 24:

Leaders of the Nepali Congress (Democratic) briefed leaders of the seven-party alliance during an informal meeting today about the ‘reality’ of the Melamchi Drinking Water Project and ‘motives’ of the Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC) in taking action against deposed PM Sher Bahadur Deuba and former minister Prakash Man Singh for alleged corrupution in the mega project. The CPN-UML general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal, NC central leaders Chakra Prasad Bastola and Dilendra Prasad Badu, president of Janamorcha Nepal Amik Sherchan, Sarita Giri of Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Anandi) and president of the United Left Front CP Mainali, attended the informal meet called by the NC-D’s acting president Gopal Man Shrestha at his party office in Maharajgunj. “I presented the project’s facts before the leaders and the reason behind scrapping the contract awarded to Hanel-Koneko which was supposed to develop the project’s access road,” said former minister Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat.

The alliance leaders said the RCCC was constituted to bludgeon the leaders into submission.

“We know very well the RCCC is unconstitutional and that it is hell-bent on hacking the leaders’ political longevity. The briefing has enlightened us,” said Nepal, after the meeting.

“The leaders concluded that Deuba and Singh were charged without merit. We demand their immediate release,” Mahat said, adding that the alliance would make it a political issue.

“Nepal will lose its credibility at the international level because of the government’s mishandling of the Melamchi project,” Mahat said. He added it was the then Surya Bahadur Thapa-led government, which annulled the contract of Hanel-Koneko in May 2004 because of its non-compliance with conditions. The contractor was found to have completed only 11 per cent of the job of the access road in 85 per cent of the time. The ADB approved the government’s decision to scrap the tender awarded to the contractor. Later, the contractor filed a case against the government’s decision at the Dispute Adjudication Board, which upheld the government’s decision. An ADB probe team will present its report to the bank’s headquarters in Manila. The Director General for South Asia Department of the bank, Kunio Senga, met vice-chairmen of the council of ministers, Dr Tulsi Giri and Kirtinidhi Bista before departing yesterday.