Nepal Today

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

MEGA BANK NEPAL LTD SHARES OVERSUBSCRIBED Kathmandu, 6 June: The public issue of Mega Bank Nepal Ltd. was oversubscribed in a big public response when it went public to raise Rs.6.33 billion in four days. Wednesday was the last day of issue. An estimated Rs.9.5 billion was collected, the bank said. “… we have been able to win public’s confidence in a very short time,” the bank added. Nnnn POSTPONED MATCHES TO BE PLAYED OF FURKHA CUP BE BE PLAYED THURSDAY Kathmandu, 6 June: Two matches of Gurkha Cup postponed because of a heavy downpour Wednesday will be played Thursday, ANFA said. Matches between Friends Club was to play Boys’ Union and Jawalakhel Youth Club was to meet Himalayan Sherpa Club Wednesday’in another match. nnnn BIDDERS OPPOSE TENDER SPECIFICATION Kathmandu, 6 June:: The government´s multi-million dollar project to distribute biometric national ID cards has courted controversy after nearly a dozen aspiring international bidders knocked the doors of Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday, complaining that the tender specifications were manipulated to suit the interests of one specific companym Kosh Raj Koirala writes in Republica.. The international bidders have asked ADB to exert pressure on the government to amend specifications of global tender announced on April 29 for printing national ID cards. “We have sought an amendment to tender specifications as we strongly feel that the specifications have been designed to suit the interest of one particular company,” a representative of one of the bidders told Republica. He, however, did not name the company in question. The first phase of the total $117 million project is being undertaken under grant assistance worth $8 million from ADB. The first phase of the project includes development of necessary infrastructures, including the development of software and hardware systems, and distribution of 110,000 national ID cards to Nepali citizens of 16 years or above. While the World Bank will lead the funding arrangement for the second phase, the government will also invest a certain portion of cost of the project that aims to distribute national ID cards to over 20 million Nepali citizens in the next few years. The representative claimed that only one company will be in the fray if the specifications are not amended. “We have raised this issue very seriously as we feel there will hardly be any competition,” he said. “It is clear that the specifications have been designed to fulfill vested interests.” The tender has been designed under QCBS quality and cost base selection model. This means technical aspects of the proposal would carry 80 per cent score and cost aspect 20 percent. Therefore, if the technical parameters favor one company, there will be no competition at all. Earlier, during the pre-bid meeting held at Singha Durbar last Wednesday, 44 of the 45 companies bidding for the national identity card project had demanded amendments to tender specifications. The government officials, however, had told them that they would issue clarifications over the tender requirements, but “not make amendments”. Executive Director of National ID Management Centre (NIDMC) Tulasi Prasad Gautam, however, denied any such allegations by the international bidders. “It is natural for some companies to make such allegations. But we have strictly followed international standards that many developed countries have followed. Since the ID cards will be linked with 10 different government services, we have not compromised on its quality,” Gautam told Republica. Gautam said since it is a new project for a country like Nepal, they have followed the standards set by the countries like Japan, New Zealand and Canada for national ID cards. “We have proposed that the ID cards should last for at least 10 years. Our specifications were also duly approved by ADB,” he said. The international bidders have sought amendment in clause 2.a.i. of the tender specification, which states “Experience in supplying NID or eID systems (NID or national eResident Cards or ePassport or National Health Cards systems) in at least three successful contracts (national projects) where the scope of supply is substantially similar to the full scope of this procurement.” In this clause, the international bidders have sought removal of health card and inclusion instead of License Card so that many companies can apply for the contract. Likewise, they have also demanded removal of the word “each” from clause 2.b.ii, which states, “Experience of setup and management of at least five personalization centers (including implementation of personalization systems) for personalizing eID smartcards, including at least 1 each for laser-engraved polycarbonate eID documents and open platform eID cards. Also in the clause 2.c.ii, which states “At least 1 reference NID or eID project where laser-engraved polycarbonate cards have been supplied and are operational for more than 10 years”, the international bidders have demanded that the provision of “operational for more than 10 years” be removed. Aspiring companies have also sought amendments to clause 2.d.i. if the bidding is to be made competitive and transparent. They have demanded that the requirement of NIST 2003 certification either be removed or changed to NIST 2003 or equivalent or the latest to allow all major international companies to apply for the project. The complaint that smart card tender specifications were manipulated to suit the interests of one specific company has also reached the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA). The anti-graft body has sought clarifications from NIDMC under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) that is handling the mega project. Various international companies including Giesecke & Devrient HmbH ,Germany, Irish Corporation Berhad ,Malaysia, Muhlbauer High Tech International, Germany, Gemalto Oy, Finland, Zetes Pass, Belgium, Oberthur Technologies, France, Bundes Drukerei, Germany, SAFRAN Morpho, France, TRUB, Switzerland, Datacard Group Private limited, India have shown interest in the project. Nnnn MOST WANTED INDIAN CRIMINAL HANDED OVER AFTER RELEASE ON BAIL Kathmandu, 6 June: In a surprise move, police on Tuesday night secretly handed over India´s most wanted criminal, Babloo Dubey aka Mithilesh, to the Indian authorities. Upendra Yadav writes in Republica from Bara . A team led by Narayani Zone police had arrested Babloo, a resident of Sishuwakhadaar Thana Kalyanpur in Motihari District of Bihar state and notorious for his ransom calls and murderous assaults, from a flat at Sita Housing Colony at Sitapaila, with the assistance of the Metropolitan Police Sector Office, Swayambhu on May 28. After his arrest, police had filed a case against him at Bara District Administration Office (DAO) and the latter had remanded him in custody for seven days. According to high-level police sources, the zonal police quietly handed over Dubey to Indian police Tuesday night, a day before his seven-day remand in custody expired. The sources added that zonal police made the move under pressure from Bihar police. Officiating Chief District Officer in Bara, Yogendra Dulal, said the DAO released Dubey on bail of Rs. 8,000 on Tuesday night. “He was released in accordance with the existing law. We do not know where he went after the posting of bail,” added Dulal. However, sources said ever since Dubey was arrested, Bihar police had been negotiating with Nepal police to extradite Dubey to India. While Nepal police had been asking their Indian counterpart to nab and extradite Sunil Jaswal and Gul Mohammed aka Sultan of Bara district for their involved in various criminal activities in Bara and Parsa districts, the crime duo, who have been charged with the killing of four UCPN(Maoist) cadres and planting a bomb at the land revenue office in Birgunj, among other things, are reportedly sheltering in Bihar. The sources said that Dubey was handed over to a team from Bihar police led by SP Binaya Singh last night. The sources also alleged that Dubey must have handed over to the Indians following pressure from high-level officers of the Nepal police. Indian police had not been able to curb Dubey´s criminal activities as he would flee to Nepal and it was very hard to trace him as he kept moving from place place and using different mobile-phone sim cards. Nnnn


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