By PR Pradhan
The record keeping system of the government is very poor. Also, there is no effective mechanism for keeping important government documents safely for reference in the future. Forget about office copy of the citizenship certificate or office copy of any private company of any individual, the government has not been able to keep safely the records of confidential and important documents related to the nation’s affairs as well. It is believed that the government has no records of the 1950 Treaty and also no official map of the nation locating Nepal-India international borders. It has been reported that in many part of the country, the government and Guthi land have been captured by individuals, as the government was unable to keep their records properly. The MPs are continuously questioning to the government that how much land the government owns nationwide, the government authorities have not been able to give an answer to the MPs.
By taking benefit of such a poor government mechanism, some ill-intentioned people – from political leaders to top ranking bureaucrats and brokers — are found capturing the government property and sometimes also private property by abusing authority.
Specially, since the introduction of multi-party democracy, or say, the institution of monarchy became just a constitutional organ, the trend of exploiting the government property accelerated. Say, all the essential government organs to run the nation were destroyed. The process of destruction was started by power greedy political leaders like Girija Prasad Koirala and other leaders gave continuation to the trend established by Koirala and his near and dear ones. Late Koirala played a significant role in destroying all the government undertakings running in profit. The Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation was ruined for the personal benefits of the Koirala family. We cannot forget the Tanakpur episode which Koirala had inked, saying that was just an agreement. Later, it was confirmed that it was a treaty, not an agreement and the Parliament had to endorse the treaty. Girija Koirala went to that extent to sign the treaty which was not in the interests of Nepal. Later, the very agreement was modified and signed as a treaty between the two nations on sharing water and electricity from the Mahakali river.
During that time, the Nepali ministers were saying that after operation of the Mahakali project, the Nepali currency’s purchasing capacity will be double than the existing Indian currency. The Mahakali project is yet to start its construction works.
Just read two books on foreign affairs of Nepal – Parastraka Patra (Actors in the Foreign Affairs) and Nepalko Kutnitik Abhhyash (Diplomatic practices of Nepal). The first book is authored by former foreign secretary and former ambassador Dr Madan Prasad Bhattarai and the second one is a compilation of different ambassadors’ experiences by journalist Bishni Risal. Both the books give the impression that the foreign ministry under the monarchial era was very influential, prestigious and strong. Some ambassadors have even explained the excellent record keeping system in the Royal Palace.
What is the definition of honesty in today’s Nepal, it is difficult to explain. Only three percent of works remains to be completed in the much awaited Melamchi drinking water project. No need to explain that why the Italian contractors quit the project at the final stage as we have already talked much about that in previous columns. Now, to complete the remaining three percent work, with the cabinet approval, the government has decided to assign local contractors through contracts and not going by the tender process. Those former Maoist cadres have been rewarded with the contracts. These all have been done to escape any possible investigation from the Commission for Investigation on Abuse of Authority (CIAA). However, we cannot expect strong investigation from the present team of CIAA, as it is functioning as the sister organization of the KP Oli government, even though, to escape any possible investigation by CIAA in future, the government has encouraged intentional corruption by endorsing such controversial projects from cabinet decisions.
Meanwhile, in the interests of the contractors, the government has amended the government regulations. The amendments have enormously benefited the construction contractors to escape their company’s name from being black-listed. Just recently, the CIAA is said to be studying the cases of construction contractors who have not been able to complete the projects on time and also failed to maintain quality and standards. The recent amendment by the government has given a big relief to those construction contractors who have already failed to complete the projects. As per the new amendment, those construction contractors will get another one year to complete the respective projects.