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Misinformation Or The Truth

Issue August 2019

Misinformation Or The Truth

Siddhi B Ranjitkar


The “gorkhapatra” published on August 18, 2019 the two most important news items on the State businesses that concern the entire population; probably, they would expose the intention of the ministers in the Oli cabinet. So, the following are the analysis of that news.


First the statement of Minister for Communication and Information Technology: Gokul Prasad Baskota:


The news on the third page of “gorkhapatra” published on August 18, 2019 stated that Minister for Communication and Information Technology: Gokul Prasad Baskota said the corruption had not increased in Nepal rather the activities of Commission on Investigation into Abuse of Authority (CIAA) had increased. The minister was speaking at the meeting of the Construction Professionals’ Organization of the province three in Banepa on August 17, 2019. The CIAA had been activated so the corrupt persons would be brought to justice, the minister said, and the previous governments could not set in motion the CIAA in the past, the news stated.


Folks would be very pleased to believe the statement of the communication and information technology minister but the political analysts, the private media and the common folks had different view of the corruption cases in Nepal. They believed that the corruption cases had been several times more than what had been in the past after the two-thirds majority federal government took office, according to the media reports.


Unlike what the communication and information technology minister said, the CIAA had been successful to catch the tiny fishes while large and even humongous fishes had been out of the net of the CIAA, the experts said. For example, the irregularities believed to be of four billion rupees in purchasing the wide-body plane for the National Airlines Corporation had been dormant for several months if not years. Only at times the media reports were in the public notice. The next media report was on awarding the contract on 4G to Huawei at NPR 18 billion believed to be that Ncell had awarded the same contract for only NPR 6 billion to the same Chinese company, according to a private media report. These two highly notorious cases were only the representatives of hundreds of billions of rupees worth of irregularities in the State businesses.


The seven O, clock morning news the Radio Nepal broadcasted on August 20, 2019 stated that the Nepal Telecom cancelled the registration of the “Hello Nepal” because it did not pay the outstanding amount of almost NPR 800 million, and NPR 70 million due for the first quarter of the current fiscal year. So, the “Hello Nepal” had to pay NPR 870 million.


The first question is why Nepal Telecom did not recover the amount before canceling the registration of “Hello Nepal,” and what prevented Nepal Telecom to do so. Other State agencies such as Nepal Electricity Authority, and the Department of Transport Management to mention a few impose huge fines on the individuals or companies that default on the payments.


The next question is whether the company would be liable to pay the amount it had not paid after the cancellation of the registration or the owner of the company could simply register another company in a different name to run the similar business without paying NPR 870 million to Nepal Telecom; and the company that defaulted on payment could escape without paying the due payments?


The question to the communication minister and information technology was whether the irregularities in the State businesses had increased or decreased, and whether the CIAA had been activated to look into such enormous irregularities in which most of the ministers were often involved. One of the CIAA high officials had told publicly that the CIAA could not take up the corruption cases involving ministers if they would do meant to put their jobs at risk.


The fertilizer mafia had been quite active to sell the State-subsidized fertilizer at the high price through the local traders wasting the billions of rupees worth of the State subsidy on fertilizer. Farmers supposed to receive the fertilizer at the subsidized rate had been denied the fertilizer from the cooperatives the State had assigned to distribute the fertilizer at the reduced price. The cooperatives had rather sold the fertilizer to the traders showing the empty stores to the farmers, who were forced to buy the fertilizer from the trades at the market price, the news on the page “kha” in “Artha Bazaar” of “gorkhapatra” stated on August 17, 2019.


The construction mafia had been sapping the State of its hundred of billions of rupees worth of construction work elsewhere across Nepal. The State had been unable to do anything when the contractors asphalted the newly dug roads and repaired other roads during the last two rainy months of the fiscal year 2018 (2075). Some bridges were half done, other roads such as Bhaktapur-Nagarkot, and Boudha-Sakhu had been neglected and remained in the dilapidated conditions for several years but the State had been unable to do anything against the unscrupulous contractors who managed to ignored the instruction of even the prime minister to complete the road, the State media often reported. Probably, CIAA could not do anything against such contractors because they must have the backup of some highly influential leaders or ministers and so on, who could even ignore the instructions of the prime minister.


Another billions of rupees were wasted in the name of the Prime Minister Employment Program. All the local governments had been made operative rather energized to implement the apparently most important program during the last two months of the last fiscal year 2018 (2075). Pictures of women wearing yellow helmets weeding out grasses from the premises of probably the district offices, and of some folks clearing of the rural paths had been in the State print media. So, billions of taxpayers’ money had been spent on the program that might have benefited some near and dear ones of the elected officials of the local governments.


Local government had purchased vehicles for the comfort of the elected officials whereas the local folks wanted ambulances and fire engines; some local governments had even bought excavators and dozers. Similarly even the House of Representatives bought 16 vehicles for the chairpersons of the parliamentary committees for going back and forth between the work place and the residence even though the lawmakers of both the National Assembly and the House of Representatives collect the money for their commute.


These irregularities were only the sample cases of hundreds if not thousands of cases that had so drastically increased during the last fiscal year. However, the minister for communication and information technology had stated that the corruption cases had not increased but the activities of the CIAA had increased in bringing the corrupt folks to justice. Everybody wanted to believe that it was a truth.


Now, another news on the front page of the “gorkhapatra” published on August 18, 2019 stated the job contracts the prime minister had signed off with the ministers of his cabinet as follows.


1. Prime Minister KP Oli and Minister for Education. Science and Technology: Girirajmani Pokharel signed off the 15-point agreement, which mentioned that within two years Nepal would be declared a literate country meant all Nepalis would be literate. It was unbelievable but actually stated in the news published in “gorkhapatra.”


Education experts said that even after 20 years Nepal would not be fully literate if the trend of the current education system would to prevail. Millions of rural children had no easy access to the schools, no textbooks, surely no teachers but the State claimed that almost hundred percent of the school going children were admitted to schools; probably, no doubt about the school admission but the State never bothered to say how many of them stayed on schools.


Experts believed that more than 90 percent of the children admitted to the primary schools dropped out in the remote rural areas even at the primary level. So, Most of them would remain illiterate for years to come. Millions of adults are illiterate. Even most of the cadres and leaders of the Nepal Communist Party have been semi-literate or even illiterate. Whether the Oli administration would run special non-formal education for them to be literate?


Majority of Nepalis were still in the rural areas; illiterate folks are mostly in the villages. The question is whether Nepal would be fully literate within two years in such a prevailing environment, which is surely not conducive to the children in the rural areas for learning and to be literate at least to be able to write and do some math. Most of the illiterate adults have no time for them to attend the literacy classes even if the State would run literacy classes massively.


The news published on the 10th page of “Gorkhapatra” on August 21, 2019 stated that the school-going-age children belonging to the dalit community in the remote area had to go to forest and collect firewood because of the poverty they could not attend school. What the State would do for such disadvantaged children to make Nepal fully literate in the next two years?


2. The prime minister signed off the 17-point agreement with Minister for Communication and Information Technology: Gokul Prasad Baskota in which they agreed on extending the broadband internet service to all the community schools within mid July 2020 (Asar masant of 2077). The minister had less than a year to do so. The minister needed to hurry up otherwise he would miss the target.


The minister had been so energetic to control the media on the pretext of controlling the anarchy in the media. The news on the third page of “gorkhapatra” published on August 19, 2019 stated that Minister for Communication and Information Technology: Gokul Prasad Baskota said that the anarchy in the media would be controlled enacting 12 new laws concerning the media. He was speaking at the function held to celebrate the 16th anniversary of the newspaper called “Dhorpatan Dainik” published from Baglung in Parbat on Sunday, August 18, 2019, and he said that some people had wrongly used the journalism, the news stated.


If the communication and information technology minister were to do what he said he would; then it would be a great disaster to the party in the future polls and of course to the Oli administration, too that would need to face the street protests against such media bills not to mention the media laws because the minister was for controlling the free media rather than controlling the media anarchy. In fact, journalists had already protested against such a media bill the minister was talking about.


3. Then the turn of Minister for Agriculture and Livestock: Chakrapani Khanal was to sign off the 13-point agreement with the prime minister agreeing to give the continuity of the ongoing activities and to complete the improvement in the system of providing the farmers with subsidy as soon as possible.


Both the minister and the prime minister pretended not to perceive the fertilizer mafia misusing the billions of rupees worth of the subsidy on fertilizer had compelled the farmers to buy the State-subsidized fertilizer at the open market at the high price. Other subsidies provided to farmers had been distributed discriminately causing the actual farmers working in the filed not having an access to the subsidies, the media reports stated.


Probably, the prime minister and the agricultural minister also did not think it the need for reducing the imports of agricultural products enhancing the agricultural production through the provision of irrigation water, fertilizers, high breed seeds, and extension services on time, and the last but not the least important one: buying the agricultural products the farmers could not sell at even the cost prices.


4. Then, Finance Minister Dr. Yubraj Khatiwada signed off the 10-point agreement with the prime minister agreeing to run all financial businesses through banks, and the finance minister would make the prerequisites for achieving the economic growth of 8.5 percent in the current fiscal year 2019 (2076).


No matter what the finance minister would do and try, the economic growth obviously would probably not meet the target because no infrastructures had been in place for such a high economic growth, and the rains had been so erratic this year; the rice crop might not achieve the target even though the State media stated that the rice crop would exceed the target. If the economic growth would be even slightly above the six percent it would be the great achievement for the finance minister in view of the performances of the finance minister in office for almost one-and-a-half years.


The stock market had not recovered that had collapsed since Finance Minister Dr. Yubraj Khatiwada took office in 2017. If the performance of the stock market is the indication of the health of the economy then the economy is not in a good shape.


The economic growth was 7.9 percent in the fiscal year 2016 (2073), then it went down to 6.3 percent in the FY 2017 (2074) when the finance minister took office, and it went up to 7.1 percent in the FY 2018 (2075) following the different computation the finance ministry adopted to calculate the GDP, according to the economic survey done for the FY 2018 (2075).


Finance Minister Dr. Yubraj Khatiwada had been very hard on the common folks and soft on the capitalists and industrialists. He had imposed VAT on even the foodstuffs increasing the price of even the wheat flour that common folks use the most. He also enforced the need even for laborers to register for PAN (permanent account number), which means enforcing VAT on them. Whereas Finance Minister Dr. Khatiwada cut the capital gain tax from seven percent to five percent letting the well-off people have fantastically more resources. It reminded me of the event of the then finance minister who happened to be the businessman cum industrialist in the cabinet of the then king Gyanendra reduced the tax on commission from 10 percent to five percent making tremendous benefits for himself and the folks like him, too. Is Finance Minister Dr. Khatiwada working for socialism or for the business folks?


The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) had written to Ajay Raj Sumargi on April 24, 2019 to pay NPR 4.31 billion in capital gain tax for the gain on sale of Ncell shares of Airbell Services registered in Cyprus to TeliaSonera in 2013 within 15 days. The amount included capital gain tax, interest and fine. The IRD issued a public notice on May 17 to inform Sumargi’s company that the letter has been sent, the news on stated on Tuesday, May 21, 2019.


So, anybody with the knowledge of a simple arithmetic could find out the amount the company had gained after the finance minister cut the capital gain tax from seven to five percent, which is as follow NPR 4.31x.02 = 0.0862 billion = 86.2 million. With a stroke of a pen of the finance minister, the company gained NPR 86.2 million. How many of such large companies must have gained such big amounts from the tax cut. Is it a socialist path or a capitalist one?


5. Prime Minister Oli and Minister for Energy, Water Resources, and Irrigation: Barshman Pun signed off an 18-point agreement, which stated many targets to achieve including the completion of the Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project and then production of energy in the current fiscal year.


Most probably, the targets might be met because of the energy and dedication of the minister and the CEO of the Nepal Electricity Authority. Unlike other ministers and CEOs they deserved the appreciation and congratulations for their efforts on bringing so much of benefits to the people almost totally relieving the people from the power outage.


Former Minister for Energy: Janardan Sharma also needed to be appreciated for his devotion and commitment to end the power outage and for appointing the most outstanding CEO to the Nepal Electricity Authority. Folks questioned why the concerned minister could not appoint such an able CEO to the Melamchi Drinking Water Project?


However, some folks had not been happy with the low voltage power supply and often trip of the power causing tremendous loss to the industries and businesses as well in Biratnagar, the stakeholders such as representatives of the Morang Industry Association and Morang Trade Association had said that it would be better to have four-hour power outage rather than have the low voltage power, which they could not use for running the businesses while complaining to the Chief Minister of Province one: Sherdhan Rai, the news on the “gha” page of “Artha bazaar” of “gorkhapatra” stated on August 21, 2019.


They also said that they went to the minister for energy and the prime minister but the problem had remained as it was; either they had to close the industries and businesses or they had to have the smooth power supply; they also said that the Nepal Electricity Authority was not only to make the profit of seven billion rupees but also it had to provide the services; the power supply had not been as Kulman Ghising had stated, the news on the “gha” page of “Artha bazaar” further stated.


Power interruption had been more frequent than used to be, and the power outage had been longer, too, despite the fact that the power stations had been producing energy at the full capacity and surplus power had been exported to India to deposit in the power bank. What went wrong? Probably, CEO Kulman Ghising had been tired of managing the power distribution through the same old distribution lines.


6. The 20-point agreement of Minister for Forest And Environment: Shakti Bahadur Basnet with the prime minister did not specify any projects that have to be completed within specific time, and gave continuity to the ongoing programs.


The forest had been once the moneymaking sector for most of the previous people in power. The forest became the standing resources for any time to cut in the past. The then government widely used the forest resources for funding illegally the Panchayat supporters in the referendum on the choice between the multi-party system and the improved Panchayat held in 1980 causing the widespread deforestation in the eastern Terai. People hoped that the current Oli administration would manage the forest for the benefits of the environment and for the people, too not sacrificing it for the advantage of some crooks in the administration.


7. Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali signed off the nine-point agreement with the prime minister with the understanding to complete the Sagarmatha Sambad within February/March 2020 (Fagun 2076), and to give continuity to other current routine work.


The foreign policy the Oli administration had followed was to keep the country not aligned to any group or axis even though there were push and pull were going on to be in the U.S. sponsored Indo-pacific Axis and the Chinese sponsored BRI (Belt Road Initiative), and Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi standing in between.


One conspicuous thing Indian Prime Minister Modi had to do yet had been to accept the report on the Nepal-India relations the EPGs (eminent persons groups of both India and Nepal) had prepared after two years of vigorous work. Probably, the advisors of Prime Minister Modi had wrongly advised the prime minister not to accept the report so far, as the report had suggested some adjustments in the past unequal treaty.


While speaking at the Reporters Club in Kathmandu on August 20, 2019, Advisor to Prime Minister KP Oli on foreign affairs: Dr. Rajan Bhattarai told that the main part of the discussion at the Nepal-India Joint Commission meeting would be the EPG report; both the countries had jointly spent a long time on preparing this report, and India would accept the report after this meeting, the news on the third page of “gorkhapatra” stated on August 21, 2019.


Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar who came to Kathmandu to attend the Nepal-India Joint Commission meeting held for two days said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi would receive the EPG report in an appropriate time. He stated so at the meeting with Prime Minister KP Oli at the official residence of the prime minister at Baluwatar, Kathmandu on August 21, 2019, the news on stated.


The fifth meeting of Nepal-India Joint Commission was holding in Kathmandu starting on Wednesday, August 21, 2019. Indian External Minister S Jaishankar was already in Kathmandu. Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali, and External Minister S Jaishankar were to jointly preside over the meeting.


First politics and border security, second information network and economic prosperity, third trade and transport, fourth energy and water resources and culture, and miscellaneous subjects would be high on the agenda at the Nepal-India Joint Commission meeting, the news on the front page of “gorkhapatra” stated on August 21, 2019.


8. Minister for Law, Judiciary and Parliamentary Affairs: Bhanubhakta Dhakal signed off the seven-point agreement with the prime minister, which had no so specific time-bound projects.


Probably, the law minister had not much time for taking a look at the controversial bills such as Guthi Bill, Human Rights Bill, and Medial Council Bill, which had provoked the stakeholders to protest, and some stakeholders took the issue of the Guthi Bill to the street and forced the Oli administration to revoke the bill. The law minister should never allow such bills to reach either the National Assembly or the House of Representatives because such bills had invariably damaged the image of the Oli administration and surely of the party, too.


9. Minister for Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation: Padma Aryal signed off the 10-point agreement with the prime minister, which had no specific projects with a time limit but said to continue the ongoing activities.


Minister Aryal was the one who registered the Guthi Bill at the National Assembly provoking the stakeholders to the street protests, which ended with the minister taking back the bill from the National Assembly. It had been a disastrous failure to the Oli administration and certainly to the Nepal Communist Party, as the bill was designed primarily to legalize the hundreds of thousands of hectors of the land former Maoists had captured, belonging to the two main Guthi (public and private associations) in the Dang District. Maoists had returned most of the land belonging to the individuals but the Maoists had kept the State and the public land in the hope of one day the communist government would legalized their land grab.


House of Representatives had passed the eighth amendment to the Land Reform Act opening the way to provide the landless people with land at one time; folks could claim the land belonging to the State or the land, which was mentioned as the forest land in the record they had been using it during the last 10 years paying 25 percent of the registration fees, the news on the third page of “gorkhapatra” stated on August 21, 2019. This Amendment Bill would be registered at the National Assembly. Once, the National Assembly passes it then it will be submitted to the president for signing off it into a law.


Obviously, this amendment to the Land Reform Act was proposed to probably legalize the land the Maoists had captured, and they had been holding it for more than ten years. So, these guys would probably receive the land ownership certificates after this Amendment Bill became the law. The Minister for Land had tried to do the same with the Guthi Bill but she could not be successful.


The news published on the front page of “gorkhapatra” on August 22, 2019 stated that the Commission on State, Public, and Guthi Land Preservation set up to investigate the encroachment on those land had received complaints about the encroachment on the State land in 150 areas. Now, the question is when the Land Reform Amendment Bill becomes law, whether the encroachers could have an ownership claim on the land they had been using 10 years and more.


10. Minister for Labor, Employment and Social Security: Gorkarna Bista signed off the 11-point agreement with the prime minister, which stated to enforce the payment of minimum wages of laborers through banks within March/April 2020 (Chaitra end 2076), and continue the Prime Minister Employment Program. This program was necessary to nourish the political cadre rather than achieving the pious goal of giving employments.


Most of the employers had continued to pay the laborers at the previous rates ignoring the minimum wage the State had set. If the Oli administration were to enforce this minimum wage successfully then it would be one of the beneficial achievements of the Oli administration. The poverty level would drastically reduced, as most of the laborers having the minimum wage would come out of the dire poverty.


The labor problem had been endemic in the industries and businesses. One of the main reasons for the so low private investments in the industries and businesses in Nepal had been the labor problem, which had been aggravated during the Maoists’ war, and the Maoists had literally destroyed the carpet and garment industries provoking the laborers to rise up against the employers. The carpet industry could not recoup but the garment industry was taking up but not so fast. The current Labor Act needed to be made beneficial both to the employers and employees, too. The current Labor Act allows employees to hire laborers but not so easy to fire them compelling the employers to have different ways of labor contracts rather than hire them.


11. Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies: Matrika Prasad Yadav signed off the 14-point agreement with the prime minister, which included several projects to be completed within the stipulated time period. Industrial village have to be set up at the local level within the coming four years; the SEZ (special economic zone) has to be made operational in Bhairava, and to initiate the establishment of SEZ in Simara, and Panchakhal in the current fiscal year, the agreement stated. The dry port in Rasuwa has to be completed within two years, and in Chovar, Kathmandu in three years, according to the agreement.


The minister had many things to do. On top of what the minister had committed to do in the agreement, the minister had to revive the State-owned industries such as Gorkhali Rubber Udoyog set up with the loan of the Asian Development Bank, Bhrikuti Paper Factory the Chinese Government had built for Nepal, Hetauda Textile Mills and Birgunj Agricultural Tools Factory to mention a few. If these industries could be made operational they would produce many items, which would substitute the imports and save the foreign currency and improve the trade deficit.


For unknown reasons the minister in particular and the Oli administration in general had not been so enthusiastic to revive those non-functioning industries. Why the finance minister so concerned with the trade deficit and the high imports had not raised the issue of revitalizing the fallen industries? These industries would also contribute to the economic growth rate. However, it seemed that the finance minister also did not worry so much about these industries.


12. Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa signed off the 12-point agreement agreeing to distribute the national identity cards to all Nepalis within four years, and to continue the criminal investigation based on the scientific facts, preparation in advance for the disasters, and search and rescue work.


The rape and murder of Nirmala Panta had been the classic case of the police trying to cover it up destroying the evidences; however, the police rather the Home Ministry had failed to take in custody even the person, who had washed off the dirty linen of Nirmala obviously for destroying the evidences, the private media widely reported.


The police had apparently taken two Tamang youths to the Suryabinayak forest in Bhaktapur and shot them, saying that they had escaped to the forest while trying to capture them, according to the media report. These two youths had kidnapped a boy and killed him. Such cases had been the human rights violation the State had obviously involved in. No matter what sorts of criminals are they, the State need to protect them rather than destroying them even if they could not save the kidnapped boy.


13. Deputy Prime Minister holding the health and the environment portfolio: Upendra Yadav signed off the eight-point agreement with the prime minister agreeing to take the ongoing health insurance to the entire Nepalis within four years; to make available the health services at the primary hospitals 24 hours a day; to run the civil health program at every neighborhood; and to run the immunization campaign against cancer from the current fiscal year continuously.


The private health services have been abundantly available to the folks who could pay for, thanks to the liberalization policy the then elected Nepali Congress government adopted in 1990s immediately after ending the dictatorial no-party Panchayat system the then king had introduced and run for almost 30 years. Tens of private hospitals and teaching hospitals had been providing high quality health services, and producing a number of health manpower.


Similarly, a number of private nursing schools had been producing the nursing human power not only for the country but also for abroad. However, the number of nurses required for the country currently exceed 50,000, it has not been met, the media reported.


Medical doctors and nurses had been migrating to foreign countries for better emoluments sending remittances to the country. Even though Nepal needed a large number of medical human power the State obviously could not keep all the medical doctors and nurses in country for making them to provided Nepalis with health services across Nepal.


The State rather the Oli administration for that matter the ministry of health needs to send adequate human-power and medicines to the health centers and health posts so that the local folks could have an easy access to at least the primary healthcare services. Local folks complained that most of the time, the health posts and health centers were closed and even if they were opened no medicines and medical personnel were available.


14. Minister for Drinking Water: Bina Magar signed off the 10-point agreement with the prime minister stating the objective of completing the remaining work at the Melamchi Drinking Water Project within the mid July of 2020 (Asar masant 2077); to provide the 92 percent of the populace with the basic drinking water within the current fiscal year, and to the entire populace within four years; and to promote the export of water.


The engineer and the project in-charge of the Melamchi Drinking Water Project stated publicly that the remaining work at the project would be completed within 15 months of the contract award to a contractor, according to the media report. It had been already nine months since the Italian company left the project but the news had been that the preparation for awarding the contract had reached a final stage. The mid July of 2020 is only eleven months away, as of August 2019.


The “Artha Bazaar” of “gorkhapatra” published a very interesting news on Melamchi on August 21, 2019 that the contract on the remaining work at Melamchi would be given to the Chinese construction company called Sino Hydro; the Melamchi Drinking Water Development Board decided to send a letter on awarding the contract on Wednesday, August 21, 2019; the Sino Hydro Company had bid for the contract at 15 percent less than the estimate of the Board means NPR 450 to 500 million less; the Board would negotiate with the company at NPR 750 million for finishing the tunnel, and at NPR 900 million for the construction of the headwork. The agreement would be signed off on completing the tunnel in 12 months, finishing the headwork in 15 months, and the water diversion work within 10 months.


Even all the three work would be done simultaneously; the total time required for completing all the work would be at least 15 months if everything would go without a hitch. Probably, the 15 percent high estimate the Board had made might be due to the inclusion of commissions to be paid to all the decision makers at the different levels of the bureaucracy.


The objective of the State providing the 92 percent of the Nepalis with the drinking water within the current fiscal year was also doubtful to achieve very much, as probably even the 50 percent of the Kathmandu Valley population had not received the State sponsored drinking water so far; even after the flow of water from the Melamchi River to Kathmandu, the entire population of the Kathmandu Valley would not enjoy the basic drinking water the State was supposed to provide. The shortage of water would continue until the second phase of the Melamchi Project was not completed, according to the experts.


Yes, the export of water might be possible if the Nepalese or foreign companies were to be so smart to collect the spring water, and then to put the label of an attractive brand name or names on it and then export provided the importing countries allow because exporting even some agricultural products to India had been so hard. It was doubtful India would buy the water from Nepal but it remains to be seen.


15. Minister for Urban Development: Muhammad Istiyak Rai signed off 12-point agreement with the prime minister, which stated to construct a multi-purpose convention center in the valley (Kathmandu?), and to construct the parliamentary building, and the residences for ministers, provincial chiefs, and the contact office of chief ministers, and so on within three years starting in the current fiscal year.


Millions of Nepalis have been living in the houses in name only without electricity, water supply and surely without any sewer. Many of them are homeless and landless, too. Why the State or the Oli administration would not spend some resources on making those folks to have at least humanely living condition not to mention a decent living. Ministers, provincial chiefs, and many other contact buildings could wait, and those elected high officials could reside in rented houses, which would contribute to the economic development rather than the State investing in the buildings that would give only comforts to the ministers, and provincial chiefs.


The Kathmandu Valley had been already crowded with so many State buildings, and probably, it would not be able to absorb any more large buildings without causing environmental hazard. So, the Oli administration would do a better job of constructing a multi-purpose convention center constructing it elsewhere in one of the provincial capitals or one of large towns where such a building would be the most appropriate to build.


16. Minister of State for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation: Dhana Bahadur Budda signed off the 18-point agreement with the prime minister agreeing to complete the Gautam Buddha Airport in March/April 2020 (Chaitra masant 2076), and to complete the remaining work in the Pokhara Airport, and to run the Kathmandu International Airport for 24 hours by the mid July 2020 (Asar masant 2077).


Newly appointed Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation: Yogesh Bhattarai was for building an international airport at Nizgad but nothing was mentioned about it in the agreement his ministry had signed off with the prime minister. The minister said that the fast track highway between Kathmandu and Nizgad would cut the travel distant to a one-hour drive. So, the international airport at Nizgad practically would be an airport in Kathmandu. However, his logic and arguments probably had been ignored in the agreement his deputy means the Minister of State had signed off with the prime minister.


17. Minister for Youth and Sport: Jagat Bahadur Sunuwar (Biswokarma) signed off the agreement with the prime minister stating to create additional three hundred thousands jobs for youths in the coming five years; to complete the cricket stadium at Mulpani in the coming two years, and to continue building stadiums with modern facilities at all provinces, and sports villages at the local levels.


Is it not the Ministry of Youth and Sport creating jobs for youths overlapping with the mandate given to the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security? However, all the ministries were to create jobs if the ministries had an environment conducive to work suitably on the development projects, and complete the projects on time. Such projects would create jobs directly and after the completion of projects indirectly as the spin-off from the development projects.


18. Physical Infrastructures and Transport Minister Raghubir Mahaseth had signed off the 19-point agreement with the prime minister in which they agreed to start off the construction of the East-West Railroads within the current year; to complete the Madan Bhandari Highway in the stipulated time; to link Humla and Dolpa with the national road networks in the current year; to prepare the policy and legal structures required for sailing ship in the fiscal year 2020 (2077); to connect all the local levels with the blacktopped road networks within the fiscal year 2021 (2078); to set up a Transport Authority in the current year; to complete the ongoing road projects; to inspect vehicles based on the GPS technology; to build subways and flyovers for managing the traffic in the urban areas; to set up vehicle fitness centers at all provinces in the current year.


Nepalis would appreciate the Oli administration and record its performances in the golden letters in the history of Nepal if it were to complete the ongoing all the road projects, and give them the opportunity of having the comfortable and safe road travel.


Folks traveling from Lamosangu to Charikot in the Sindhupalchok district complained that the road conditions had been horrible, and the time taken for travel had been almost thrice the time required for normal and regular travel. The construction of the road was supposed to complete well above three years but the contractor had been taking time to do the job. Similarly, the road from Boudha to Sakhu in Kathmandu, and the Road from Bhaktapur to the Nagarkot: one of the main tourist destinations had remained undone for several years despite the local folks had been trying everything possible including the roadblocks for putting pressure on the Oli administration to complete the construction of those roads.


Given such a history of the performances of the Physical Infrastructures and Transport Ministry of the Oli administration, would the common folks believe in the ministry completing all the ongoing road projects? Of course the mandate given to the ministry in question was open-ended. So, the ministry had option to complete the ongoing road projects at its convenient time. It is certainly in the interest of the ministry folks.


Probably, the Physical Infrastructures and Transport Ministry would initiate the construction of the East-West Railroads but initiating anything was one thing but competing it was another. Initiating any project with the intention of never competing it as of the Melamchi Project would add a burden on the State treasury, and the taxpayers’ money would be spent without beneficial results.


The ministries needed to initiate any projects with the mandate to complete on schedule otherwise the ministers would not have any ethical rights to remain in office or the prime minister needed to fire them out. Unless and until all the ministers were made accountable to their performances the development projects particularly the large projects would remain incomplete for many years to come, as such things were in the interest of these folks.


19. Defense Minister Ishwor Pokharel signed off the 12-point agreement with the prime minister in which they agreed to continue mostly the ongoing activities.


The army had been doing excellent jobs of search and rescue work whenever folks had had disaster. If any vehicles fall down the Trishuli River they were there to rescue the passengers, and retrieve the vehicle. The army personnel had done excellent jobs during the disastrous earthquakes in 2015, and saved many lives otherwise would have lost. The army had built many roads. Recently, the army had opened up the track for the fast track highway between Kathmandu and Terai.


The army had been always there to transport sick folks on a helicopter whenever they were at the risk of losing lives from the remote areas to the well-equipped hospitals for their medical treatment. The army had waived NPR 6.6 million worth of bills for the helicopter ride of Chairman Prachanda during the election campaign for electing a second Constituent Assembly, according to the media report.


20. Minister for Women, Children and Senior Citizens: Thammaya Thapa signed off the 15-point agreement with the prime minister agreeing to continue the current activities.


Finance minister Dr. Khatiwada increased the senior citizen allowance from NPR 2,000 to NPR 3,000 per month in the current fiscal year only even though the election manifesto of his party had committed to increase to NPR 5,000 per month immediately after taking office. Anyway even this amount is a great help to many elderly folks who had no second-generation folks to look after them. This amount even though small would probably have the influence in population control, as the folks in old age would not need to depend on their offspring. So, folks might limit their progeny to a manageable few.


Single women have been receiving allowances too making them to have some meals in a month.


The traffic in women has continued, and even to the African countries, according to the media reports. Previously, the traffic in women had limited to Kolkatta (Calcutta) and Bombay. Once, the women were sold to prostitution they would have a little or no chance to return to the regular life.


Many children were sold to the rich folks abroad and they took them as adopted but in fact the children were made the domestic workers, the media reports had it.


21. Minister for Federal Affairs and General Administration: Lalbabu Pandit signed off the 13-point agreement with the prime minister to run the ongoing activities.


During the last 17 months in office, Minister Pandit had devoted to adjust the State employees to provinces, and the local levels. The results had been all the hospitals put under the provinces had suffered from the flight of the physicians and had been without any physicians to provide the patients with medical services. For example, the Gandaki Hospital had seven physicians after the adjustment they left the hospital, and no more substitute for them; similarly, the Dadeldhura hospital, Mahakali, and Seti Hospitals had faced the same fate, the news on stated on August 21, 2019.


Similarly, many local governments had complained that the staffers working at the local governments left office after the civil-official adjustment but no new officials had arrived causing to stop the routine work on the service delivery.


The contract agreements the prime minister had signed off with the ministers of his cabinet was the fantastic one in the sense that the ministers were held accountable to what they were doing and what they had to do at least in the paper. However, the question was what if the ministers could not meet the target mentioned in the job contracts the prime minister had signed off. Without making a provision for some sorts of actions against the ministers defaulting on the targets, the agreements would be just on papers only.


The news published on the front page of “gorkhapatra” on August 27, 2019 stated that the minister for culture, tourism and civil aviation made public the 141 activities targeting to bring 2 million tourists in the tourism year 2020.


Only a week had past since the prime minister had signed off an agreement with each minister except for the minister for culture, tourism and civil aviation but his deputy signed off an agreement listing what activities the minister would launch or continue or complete.


The minister for culture, tourism and civil aviation put forward his own programs, which might be better than the agreement the prime minister had signed off. The question is whether the minister for culture, tourism and civil aviation would receive the adequate budget from the finance minister. Probably, the budget must have been already set for the ministry.


August 23, 2019

Updated on August 27, 2019

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