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The government of Nepal decides to award the recently withdrawn optical fiber laying contract worth Rs 3 billion from Smart Telecom to Nepal Telecom (NTC). Earlier NTA terminated the optical fiber laying contract along Sudhur Paschim and Karnali Province with Smart Telecom. This is one of the optical fiber projects along the Mid-hill highway.
Smart Telecom could only perform around 1 percent of total world within the project timeline of two years. So, NTA took the decision to terminate the contract with Smart Telecom last week. Smart Telecom had also moved to Supreme Court to get Stay order but the court decided not to do so.
As per Kantipur, Cabinet meeting on Kartik 5, 2076 had come to the decision to direct NTA to award the project to Nepal Telecom.
Smart Telecom and NTA made a deal in September 2017 to lay the optical fiber in province 6, 7 within 2 years period. The optical fiber cable along this section ranges from Musikot of Rukum to Jhulaghat of Dailekh. When asked for the progress, Smart Telecom requested for timeline within the month of Ashad.
After Ashad, NTA analyzed the progress of the optical fiber works which they found to complete only 0.8 percent of total works. Finding the zero progress of the optical fiber works, NTA says they were bound to terminate the contract with Smart Telecom.
Similar optical fiber project was awarded to another Telco, UTL to lay optical fiber along Province 4, 5. As they could not even start the works, NTA scrapped the project with UTL. Then also, Government was willing to award the same project to Nepal Telecom. Then UTL moved to the Supreme court against the decision. UTL also succeeded in getting the stay order. But as the case was under the court’s discussion, there is nothing that NTA, Government could do for this project.
The optical fiber project under UTL had to lay the 2100 km fiber from Gorkha’s Arughat to Baglung’s Burtibang.
In order to develop information superhighway across the country, NTA divides the Mid-Hill fiber project into three parts.
It seems NTA is willing to provide all of the optical fiber projects under the Mid-hill highway to Nepal Telecom. Nepal Telecom had got the contract to lay optical fiber along Province 1, 2 and 3 which runs from Pachthar’s Chiyo Bhanjyang to Gorkha/Dhading border Arughat. There was also some delay in selecting the contractor by Nepal Telecom for the works. But now after the selection of three separate vendors, Prime Minister himself inaugurated the works. As known, the optical fiber laying works are underway in all Province 1, 2 and 3 areas.
Tell us what do you think of Government’s decision to award the recently terminated optical fiber project from Smart Telecom to Ntc.