CPN lawmaker Aman Lal Modi, who accused Managing Director of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) Kulman Ghishing of irregularities during the meeting of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of parliament on Tuesday, had demanded Rs 500,000 from the NEA a few days back.
Ghishing, who demanded investigation from the authorities concerned if he was involved in irregularities and challenged he is ready to hang himself if that were proved, had hit back saying the people’s representative who has stopped transmission line connected to the country’s future should not take revenge for that.
It has now been revealed that lawmaker Modi had demanded Rs 500,000 in front of Chief District Officer (CDO) Morang to placate the locals.
The NEA has been expanding transmission line from Duhabi of Sunsari to Biratnagar in Morang to manage supply at Katahari area of Morang. There was no dispute when the poles were erected but locals of Gidniya in Gramtham rural municipality in Modi’s constituency stopped work when wires were put on the poles.
The NEA has planned for immediate operation of Katahari substation as Tankisinuwari substation could not take the load in Katahari industrial area resulting in the need for load-shedding there.
Representatives of NEA, Morang Chamber of Commerce and Industries, CDO of Morang Ramesh Kumar KC and federal lawmaker from the area Modi then sat for a meeting to resolve the problem.
Modi stated that use of force would not work there and proposed that he can convince the locals by distributing Rs 500,000. “I have tried my best. All the measures have not worked. There is another way if we are ready,” Modi reportedly proposed during that meeting. “You should give money. Rs 500,000. I will resolve it by distributing that to the locals there,” Modi added when others in the meeting asked what the other way was.
The meeting ended after Modi’s demand. Three persons present during that meeting have confirmed with Setopati that Modi demanded the amount.
NEA officials deliberated on the demand and concluded that giving the money would not provide long-term solution reasoning that Modi may later demand more money to distribute to other people.
They then requested Energy Minister Barsha Man Pun to talk with Modi as both are from the same party. Minister Pun talked with Modi but that did not work. “You went to the minister. Nothing will happen by going to the minister about the local problem here. I can resolve the problem only in that way,” Modi told the NEA officials after talking with Minister Pun.
Chairman of Morang Chamber of Commerce and Industries Bhim Ghimire tried to resolve the issue by talking with Modi and local elected representatives but to no avail. “There is opposition as somebody has spread false rumors that high-tension line will adversely affect the locals. But we are working to convince the locals that the rumors are false,” Ghimire told Setopati.
Modi confirmed with Setopati that he demanded money but for the locals and not him. “The people there have raised some issues. There are some demands as well. Some compensation has to be paid to manage that,” Modi stated. “There are news reports that I demanded money in front of CDO and scores of others. Now tell me how can I demand Rs 500,000 from CDO? I asked them to give compensation.”
But Modi’s claims about compensation are not justified as the issue of compensation is raised before start of any project work and not at the end.
NEA officials claim that the 33 kV transmission line does not have much impact anyway and it will not affect the locals as the road is very broad and the poles have been erected by the roadside and the wires do not go inside the compound of any residents.