The Nepalese Army (NA) has awarded contracts to build sections of the $1bn Kathmandu-to-Tarai Fast Track road scheme to two Chinese companies despite a ruling from the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee that the project should be halted over irregularities in the procurement process.
The committee said in April that the deal with Poly Changda Engineering Company for a work package on the motorway violated the competitive bidding process set out in the country’s 2015 Public Procurement Act (see further reading).
Roj Nath Pandey, the committee secretary, told The Kathmandu Post: "The committee’s study has found a serious breach of the Public Procurement Act and its regulation in the pre-qualification of construction companies for the second phase. The committee has directed the scrapping of the entire process and starting a new one."
Some 22 companies expressed interest in bidding for the project. Nepal’s procurement rules state that more than one bidder must be shortlisted, however the NA considered only Poly Changda for the second package of work.
Despite this, the NA awarded on Friday two contracts to Poly Changda and China State Construction Engineering Corporation.
The companies will build tunnels and bridges for the motorway, which will link the Nepalese capital with Nijgadh in the southern plains and cut travel time by about a third.
According to the NA, China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) has been confirmed as the holder of package one, worth a little over $180m, and Poly Changda has been confirmed as the contractor for package two, worth a little more than $240m. The companies were first awarded the contracts in December.
The work will be carried out in the engineering procurement construction model, with design to take six months and construction three years. CSCEC will build a 3.5km tunnel and Poly Changda a 1.6km and a 1.4km tunnel.
Poly Changda, also known as the Guangdong Provincial Changda Highway Engineering Co, specialises in highways, bridges and tunnels.
Image: Kathmandu, Nepal (Raimond Klavins/Unsplash)