Nepalese parliament scraps Chinese road contract on $1bn motorway

The Public Accounts Committee of Nepal’s parliament has stepped in to halt a $200m road contract the Nepalese army awarded to a Chinese construction firm.

The committee said 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.

The deal was to build tunnels and bridges for the Kathmandu-to-Terai Fast Track motorway, a $1bn highway that will link the Nepalese capital with Nijgadh in the southern plains and cut travel time by about a third.

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 army considered only Poly Changda for the second package of work.

The first package, which also involves tunnels and bridges, was awarded to China State Construction Engineering Corporation. The company bid unsuccessfully for the second package.

The motorway has a total of 86 bridges including 16 categorised as "special" and 6.4km of tunnels.

The completion of the route, scheduled for July 2024, is likely to be further delayed by the need to re-tender the second package of work.

Poly Changda, also known as the Guangdong Provincial Changda Highway Engineering Co, specialises in highways, bridges and tunnels.

Image: Kathmandu, Nepal (Raimond Klavins/Unsplash)

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