By K. C. Bhatt
Nepal is a poor country. However, the amount the government proposes to impose as penalty against some crimes proves that Nepal is not as poor as it is claimed to be while requesting for alms or loans from the donors or lenders.
The newly proposed information bill is a case in point. It has five years’ sentence and one and a half million rupees in penalty for someone who has violated it—if it becomes a rule. The concerned people have argued that the government wants to impose such provisions to terrorize or victimize its critics.
Under the weight of dozens of garlands of marigold flowers, the new rulers in the government look pleased at their popularity, once they reach a town outside the capital and are greeted by their supporters–who queue up to adorn them with those garlands.
It also makes them prone to become delusional about the state of the country about which they say now they only harbor dreams of prosperity in their minds–as they also rule out the need of further revolutions simultaneously.
As a preparation for that prosperity perhaps, they have proposed bills which have financial penalties way beyond the capacity of an average Nepali at present—who is not on the side of the rulers and considers himself a victim of their policies which are eroding his equity in the system almost on a daily basis.
He has to wait way beyond the average age of a Nepali at which he could expect to receive some patronage—though paltry, if you consider the amount he has to pay once he is convicted for violating the information bill if it becomes a rule as it has been proposed—from the state. It is he who needs to criticize the government as sharply as he could.
In the meanwhile the government with an overwhelming majority bulldozes through the process of handing out yet another public property to a business house–at a runaway cost–it favours, after making several changes in the hitherto prevalent rules and regulations–which might have called for inviting a competitive bidding for the same from other competitors. It was a deal the PM himself had to defend when his sharp-tongued team members failed to silence the criticism against it.
The popularity of existing PM too is on a decline now due to such exceptions he is making and one wonders if his legacy will be the controversial Gokarna deal and not the pivotal role he played in rallying the whole nation in formulating a new constitution and facing the hostility of many world powers once it was adopted. Needing a second kidney transplant, his health is not good and he has to receive three-times a week dialysis. One can only feel sympathy for him due to it. But he has to worry seriously about finding a successor who could take ahead the good work he has done so far.
New Nepal proves a chimera due to the vanity of a venal ruling class in spite of frequent revolutions.
(GPO Box 20460, Kathmandu, Nepal)