Hurried deal

Sep 8, 2017
The parliamentary Development Committee has done the right thing to ask the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) to clarify why it did not award the contract of printing embossed number plates for vehicles to the lowest bidder. The House panel has asked the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) too, which comes under MoPIT, to explain why the contract for printing the embossed number plates was awarded to a higher bidder. The House panel’s step makes sense because awarding a contract to a higher bidder instead of the lowest leaves ample room for doubt that the contract might have been awarded for monetary and other vested interests of those in authority. This point alone makes a strong case for investigating the matter thoroughly. But without the result of such an inquiry, it would be difficult to blame anybody or take action. The ball is now in the court of the ministry and the department, and they have to defend themselves and prove that everything was done in a straightforward manner and with the best intentions.
The government has a plan to install embossed number plates on all vehicles in the country; and it started to apply it by first putting embossed number plates on all government vehicles in the Bagmati zone from August 2. The plan is gradually to cover all zones and all types of vehicles, including private and commercial. The department had called for global tenders for installing the embossed number plates in November last year and had received four applications. The country’s existing law favours giving any government contract to the lowest bidder. DoTM had awarded the contract to Decatur Tiger IT, a US-Bangladesh joint venture company, a year ago. This company had proposed to print the embossed number plates at US$ 40.5 million whereas the lowest bidder had quoted the price for US$ 29.6 million. The present director general of the department says that as the contract has already been awarded, priority should now be given to the effective implementation of the scheme of putting the embossed number plates on all vehicles.
There is no doubt that the contract should now be carried out in full and in an effective manner. But it is the duty of the monitoring agencies like the Development Committee of Parliament to probe the matter thoroughly to determine whether undesirable things have been committed by the authorities while awarding the contract. It is necessary in the public interest to prevent the taxpayers’ money from being misused and to discourage corrupt tendencies. The hurry of the officials to introduce it and use the names of zones on the number plates while zones will be scrapped within six months after the Pradesh assembly elections increases doubts about wrongdoing further. This change would increase the cost of making the number plates. The government should also put in place the infrastructure necessary for realizing the objectives of introducing the embossed number plates, such as setting up data centres, control room, satellite connections, and readable devices and towers. DoTM, like various other government departments and offices, such as land revenue offices, district administration offices, and municipalities, sees the most pressure for service from the general public.
Prostate cancer
Men are at high risk of being afflicted with prostate cancer after they reach the age of fifty. Figures in Nepal show fifty per cent of men above the age of 50 years suffer from it, and those who are above the age of 75 have 75 per cent chances of suffering from problems with this form of disease.
This means a large population of men are suffering from prostate cancer. Doctors advice regular health check-ups for diseases of the prostate gland. If the diseases are diagnosed early all treatment is available in the country. The way to avoid the disease would be to live a healthy lifestyle and not to partake of unhygienic food, red meat and to eat more green vegetables. Leading sedentary lives also could cause prostate cancer therefore those at risk should do regular exercise.
Prostate cancer is caused by genetic defects as well as the change in testosterone hormone in men. Symptoms of the disease included uninterrupted flow of urine. Blood in the urine and pain in the lower back are also common symptoms of prostate cancer.
The Himalayan Times, September 8, 2017

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