The Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives has directed the government to cancel the second package contract on construction of bridge and tunnel under Kathmandu-Tarai Expressway and announce fresh bidding.

The government was made aware that only one construction company was picked from pre-qualification, thereby avoiding competition.

It was stressed at the PAC meeting that necessary documents, directives and processes should be finalised on time while issuing the bid for international companies in large construction projects. The PAC meeting was attended by Secretary of Defence Ministry Reshmi Raj Pande and technical officials associated with projects run by the Nepali Army.

PAC Chairperson Bharat Kumar Shah said, although the Public Procurement Act had the provision of selecting multiple companies for pre-qualification round, only one company was selected. "Such nonimplementation of law made by parliamentarians must end."

He argued that there were legal flaws regarding the selection of contract for expressway project. Chances are high that the contract will be made at lower cost than the estimated cost for not having multiple companies in pre-qualification round.

Similarly, project chief Bikash Pokhrel said that there were two packages for construction of three tunnels.

In the bidding for the contract on construction of tunnel and bridges, 21 companies had applied for first package and 22 in the second package. But, Nepali Army had selected two companies in the first package and one in the second package in the pre-qualification round.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 2, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.