By PR Pradhan
The present government led by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has already spent its honeymoon period. Yet after this ‘grace’ period, we have neither seen any miracle as boasted by members of the government nor any vision from the government which is now enjoying two-thirds majority, a first of its kind in more than five decades. Firstly, the government took action against the syndicate that existed in the transportation sector. Has the syndicate system ended or it is still existing in another form, perhaps the government or the plight of the people travelling in public transportation can say.
The government then announced action against the construction contractors who have failed to complete the projects in the given deadline. On this move also, it seems, the government has failed.
What we have been informed is that by ending the traditional syndicate mechanism, the government is planning to start a new syndicate system in transportation sector by rewarding those transport entrepreneurs who have supported the political parties in the government and those who are close to the then UML and Maoist Center. Talking about the business, none other than the Minister for Transportation is a public transport entrepreneur and he holds a large share in the company which is operating the business complex at the Gangabu Bus Park. Of course, he is looking after his own business interests.
Will Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa be able to take action against Sharada Adhikari, the contractor and the house owner of his party’s chairman Pushpakamal Dahal, it is a huge question. Adhikari is the main contractor of the Kalanki-Nagdhunga road section, gateway of Kathmandu Valley. He has missed the construction deadline by many years.
The Banepa Bardibas Highway, known as the BP Highway is not technically appropriate for the operation of heavy and other big vehicles. The Highway, constructed by Japan as a token of friendship was aimed at transporting village products around the area connected by the Highway. Considering the high rate of accidents, the government had banned the operation of big and heavy vehicles’ movement in this Highway. Recently, Minister Raghubir Mahaseth took the decision for operating big and heavy vehicles in this narrow road. Who is going to take the responsibility if a big accidents occurs in this Highway in the days to come? Thanks God, the Supreme Court has issued interim order for not operating big and heavy vehicles in this Highway!
Although PM Oli has, time and again, said that he is not going to tolerate any type of corruption, the fact is that he is surrounded by the very people who are involved in corruption.
It seems, PM Oli is unaware about what his ministers are doing. The Energy Minister made public a whitepaper on energy, but the whitepaper has not been addressed by the budget for the new fiscal year presented by the Finance Minister.
Investigation on the smuggling of 33 KGs gold is still on. Those who had disappeared after the security team started investigation, are now appearing at the court and giving statements that they were not involved in the gold smuggling scam. An investigation committee has been constituted under the convenorship of an under secretary in the Home Ministry. How effective this committee is in investigating the scam is also a big question. Sure, without the blessings or support from some top level political leaders in the government and also without the involvement of top ranking officers of the security organs there, gold smuggling through the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) is not possible. The case of smuggling 33 KGs of gold and murder of some carriers doesn’t end by taking action against those who have been arrested until now as gold smuggling was taking place for years and quintals of gold have been smuggled through the TIA. It is astonishing and of great curiosity to find out who are the owners of such gold, for this has never been revealed although carriers have been arrested. MK Agrawal, who is out of the security reach, is alleged to be the main investor and he is said to be involved in supplying such smuggled gold to India. It is serious to note that this is the evidence which clearly indicates that TIA is under the control of drugs and gold smugglers. What if the international terrorist groups misuse this opportunity by smuggling arms and ammunitions and even terror outfits through these corrupt officials deployed in the TIA?
It has been proved that by enjoying our open borders with India, smugglers have developed a strong network in smuggling gold and even fake Indian currency which is secretly brought through the TIA to different parts of India. This is a sensitive issue for both Nepal and India. First of all, TIA should be freed from the grip of smugglers and secondly, the existing open borders with India should be regulated at any cost. It should be security sensitive for both the countries. Without dismantling the strong network of the smugglers, smuggling of gold and drugs cannot be stopped. Therefore, a high-level probe commission comprising of professional security officers should be constituted, and if political leaders and top ranking government officials are found being involved in smuggling, they should be punished. The Indian government too has to put pressure in the formation of a strong probe commission. If amnesty will be given to the political leaders involved in smuggling, Nepal will remain as a hub for smuggling, which is a threat for both of Nepal’s neighbours – India and China.
When we talk about Nepal-India borders, every time, we hear reports of disappearing border pillars. Just recently, reports appeared which said that several border pillars were missing in our borders with India in Panchthar district. The Armed Police Force have been deployed for protection of our borders. Their job is to protect and preserve the border pillars, rather than just informing their senior officers and political leaders only about the missing pillars. If the number of security force is not sufficient, the government should deploy more security personnel in such areas. If the government cannot protect the country’s border pillars, it is a very shameful thing for all the citizens of this country and not only the government. Protecting border pillars should be the first job of the government.
The present government is the most powerful government in the political history of the country. After the Federal Socialist Forum led by Upendra Yadav joined the government, the government has ensured a two-thirds majority for itself. Along with the emergence of such a powerful government, the danger of dictatorship cannot be ruled out. If the government will start to act by bypassing the opposition parties and existing laws, it will be a serious setback to democracy. The government has committed a blunder by giving amnesty to Balkrishna Dhungel was indicted for murder by no less than the Supreme Court of the nation. If such mistakes are repeated, rule of law will end and we may experience performance of an autocratic government.