Nepalese Parl to grill Foreign Secretary on passport deal

Last Updated: Monday, July 12, 2010 - 12:33

Kathmandu: Nepalese Parliament will question Foreign Secretary Madan Kumar Bhattarai and Chief of Protocol Muktinath Bhatta on the issue of awarding contract of
printing and supplying four million machine readable passports to a French company.

The government has decided to award the contract of supplying four million passports to French firm Oberthur Technologies, which was picked up from among the four
international bidders through a tender last week.

According to parliament`s Public Accounts Committee chairman Ramkrishna Yadav, the decision to call the top officials for questioning about the ministry`s move was taken
after lawmakers demanded investigation into the issue.

The French firm quoted lowest price of USD 3.59 per passport, but the lawmakers belonging to Nepali Congress, Sadbhavana Party and Madhesi People`s Rights Forum objected to the government`s decision saying the company was not reliable and it would supply low quality passports.
The French company which had earlier got the tender to supply paper notes to Nepal Rastra Bank had failed to fulfil its obligation on time, according to media reports.

The lawmakers have pointed out flaws in security provisions and quality of paper of the MRPs to be supplied by the French company during an interaction programme recently.
Earlier, the government had cancelled the contract signed with India`s Security Minting and Printing Corporation to supply the passports after Maoists opposed the move.

The Indian security press was supposed to supply the MRPs at the cost of USD 4 per piece.


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First Published: Monday, July 12, 2010 - 12:33

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