Dismissed telecom managing director blames politics

  • Her dismissal comes at a time when the NT was poised to award the 4G service expansion contract
- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu

Aug 16, 2018-

Dismissed Nepal Telecom Managing Director Kamini Rajbhandari on Wednesday hit back saying her unjust removal is “conspiracy of political connected people in the state-owned telecom company”.

The Cabinet meeting on Tuesday evening terminated Rajbhandari, questioning her performance as the NT chief. She was elevated to the post in September 2016 for a three-year term by the erstwhile Pushpa Kamal Dahal government, making her the first ever woman head of the company.

Talking to the Post, Rajbhandari said some NT senior officials who were in the race for the top post when she was appointed MD two years ago, conspired to remove her from the post.

She said she was unceremoniously removed even though the Cabinet decision on June 10 gave her six months to deliver.   

The government justified her dismissal saying NT’s financial position deteriorated during her tenure as the company failed to complete projects in time and the infrastructure expansion plan could not meet the target.

Sources claimed Rajbhandari’s relation with the Oli government was not good as Communication and Information Technology Minister Gokul Banskota was against her continuation.

Her dismissal comes at a time when the NT was poised to award the 4G service expansion contract. The plan to expand 4G service was made during her tenure.

“I have been sacked when we’re preparing to execute it,” said Rajbhandari.

Minister Banskota had forwarded the proposal to remove her at the Cabinet meeting two months ago.

Rajbhandari managed to save her post after intervention by a senior leader of ruling Nepal Communist Party, the source claimed. On June 10, the Cabinet sought her clarification on her handing the 12-point instruction related to improving NT’s services and quality.  

As per the instruction, she was supposed to complete project related to expanding 10 million GSM lines (2G and 3G based) within six months, expanding 100,000 wireless Fiber to Home’ Wireless service within six months and completing awarding the contract to lay optical fiber on Mid-Hill Highway within six months.

On August 10, the government sought further clarification asking her why she should not be removed from the post as she had performed poorly.

After receiving her termination letter on Friday, she made public NT’s achievements in the last one year on Sunday. As per the progress report, the company made profit of Rs15.66 billion, an increase of 1.92 percent compared to previous fiscal year.

She had faced criticism of failing to expand 4G services except in Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara, although the NT was first company to introduce 4G in January 2017.

Two Chinese companies—China Communication Services International and ZTE are in the race to bag the contract to expand 4G service.

Intervention by the Commission for Investigation Abuse of Authority over possible irregularities delayed the contract awarding process. “Following the Public Procurement Act provisions caused the delay,” said Rajbhandari.

Published: 16-08-2018 07:11

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