By PR Pradhan
Leaders of the present political parties are found giving speeches defaming the erstwhile scrapped Panchayat era as a “dark era”, “autocratic era” and this “loktantrik era” as the “golden era”. How is this “golden era”, we have already experienced! The government itself is saying that there is a syndicate system in every sector, from which, the general public are being suffering and brokers/middlemen are enjoying the benefits. Now it has become common to read reports of how there are hospitals cheating/exploiting patients; how the private schools are exploiting the parents and how the brokers controlling the price of daily consuming goods, including foodstuff and vegetables in the market! We saw goldsmiths’ demonstration when the quality control department found a high percentage of adulteration in gold ornaments; we saw transport entrepreneurs in the streets when the government decided to scrap the syndicate in the transportation sector. Oh!, Yes, this is the “new Nepal that the leaders are talking about!
Currently, investigation in the smuggling of 33 Kgs of gold from the country’s sole international airport and killings of two porters involved in the smuggling is on. Senior police officers including the then Nepal Police IGPs are also suspected to be involved in this smuggling scam. Often, huge quantity of gold is being confiscated by the security organs from the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA). This can be an evidence that TIA is the hub for smuggling, or say, TIA, a most sensitive place, is under the control of the smugglers! What if the TIA goes under the grip of international terrorist groups? This could be catastrophic not only for Nepal but for the region and the entire world. Perhaps, smuggling of gold via TIA could be the definition of a “golden era” for our country as defined by our political leaders.
When senior officials of the Nepal Police are involved in gold smuggling, can we believe that there cannot be the involvement of the home secretary, home minister and the prime minister in such scams? The Sudan APC scam is perhaps the most high-profile scam in which some Nepal Police IGPs and senior officials are still facing jail terms. It is believed that those signatories only were brought under the investigation net, however, the then home secretary, supreme leaders from the major three parties – NC, UML and the Maoist Center were the major partners who had shared a major amount of the commission received from the APC purchase deal. Nepal has lost its past glory in the UN from this scam. Perhaps, our leaders are proud of this “golden era”!
The nation has witnessed all such distortions and corruption since the introduction of the multiparty democracy. Of course, such mal-practices were witnessed during the kings’ days also, but not to the present volume, also, the culprits could not escape punishment. So far, compared to the present days, politics and bureaucracy were very clean during the Panchayat days. Today, the scale of smuggling, taking of bribes and commissions is obviously very high and deep-rooted including at the higher levels or say the executive chief’s level is suspected, but they are beyond the investigation circle of the authorities.
Corruption and commission have become synonymous of this “loktantra” and political involvement in corruption and commission has been institutionalized as political leaders are beyond the investigation net. Perhaps, if such rampant corruption was witnessed during the Panchayat era, the donor countries would already have stopped their aid to Nepal. As the political leaders are serving the interests of the foreign countries, the donors have closed their eyes to what is happening in the financial sector of Nepal!
Not only the political sector is tainted from corruption and commission, but also, our security organs, including the Nepal Army have become corrupt. Besides, our judiciary has also been alleged of indulging in corruption. May be, we are thus enjoying the “golden era” this way as told by our leaders!
“New” Nepal in the “golden era”
By PR Pradhan