Problems have surfaced in 11 new Mahindra Scorpio jeeps procured by the federal parliament secretariat less than a month after being brought into use.
The secretariat had procured the new jeeps at Rs 5.58 million each for chairpersons of the parliamentary committees despite those they were using being in operational state. They were handed over to the chairpersons in the third week of July.
Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara acknowledged that there have been irregularities in procurement. “We had a meeting with committee chairs. Some parts have worn down and there seem to be irregularities in procurement,” Speaker Mahara told Setoapti. “I have formed a three-member probe committee. We will look at the probe committee’s report. Action will be taken if there are any irregularities.”
Chairman of the Delegated Management and Government Assurance Committee of the National Assembly Ram Narayan Bidari, Chairman of the Law Committee Krishna Bhakta Pokharel and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee Bharat Kumar Shah are members of the probe committee.
The secretariat had procured new vehicles for chairpersons of all 16 parliamentary committees even as the vehicles they were using were in operational state. Problems have surfaced in 11 out of those 16 vehicles.
Drivers of the chairpersons initially complained that the sound system in those vehicles were substandard, windows would not fit in properly and the wipers would not work. Problems arose in gearbox of State Affairs Committee Chairperson Shashi Shrestha while there is problem in chassis of Bidari’s vehicle.
The irregularities came to the fore after the chairpersons briefed Speaker of the House of Representatives (HoR) Mahara and National Assembly Chairman Ganesh Prasad Timalsina about the problems.
Mahara convened a meeting with the committee chairpersons and National Assembly Chairman Timalsina at his office not keeping staffers as is the norm to discuss about the irregularities. The probe committee has been formed after the meeting.
There is a separate vehicle department in the federal parliament which has 47 vehicles including 42 Scorpio jeeps. Thirty-eight of those vehicles are in operational state.
Speaker Mahara had requested Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada to allocate budget after the committee chairpersons expressed desire for new vehicles despite the ones they were using being in operational state.
The secretariat had initiated tender process for procurement of the new vehicles even before budget was allocated. It had procured the Scorpio jeeps before the end of last fiscal year after getting budget.
The secretariat keeps the old vehicles, that can still be used, in the Parliament House in New Baneshwore.