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Case filed against purchase of Chinese aircraft

A petitioner Krishna Prasad Dahal from Okhaldhunga filed a case at Supreme Court today against the government’s decision to purchase six Chinese-made aircraft that he claimed has not followed Public Procurement Act.

He said that the government is buying four –  out of the six – aircraft from China without global tender. “It has left a room to doubt that the cost of the aircraft is high and would result in a heavy financial burden to the government,” he claimed in his petition.

He has also filed the case against the Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) and its board.

According to the agreement between Nepal and China governments, the northern neighbour will provide a grant of RMB 180 million (Rs 2.98 billion) for procuring Y-12e and Modern Ark 60  (MA60) aircraft, while China EXIM Bank will provide soft loans worth RMB 218 million (Rs 3.61 billion) to purchase the four aircraft (three Y-12e and an MA60).

Tha state airliner had on November 29, 2012 signed a commercial agreement with a Chinese government undertaking AVIC International Holdings to procure the six aircraft.

Likewise, the ailing national flag carrier on August 7, 2011 NAC had written to the Finance Ministry requesting it to help purchase eight aircraft under foreign grants.

The ministry had then requested China in November 2011 to provide aircraft either in grant or under soft loans. Beijing showed interest in providing some aircraft in grant and other under soft loans. And in December 2011, the Chinese government formally informed the ministry that three aircraft would be provided in grant and the others under soft loans.

According to the revised schedule, China is delivering the first batch of two Modern Ark 60 aircraft on April 26. Earlier, it had planned to deliver aircraft on March 15.