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Spice of Life

By P. Kharel

Rules against underdog
Individual Nepalese face the axe everywhere when it comes to paying their dues. Whenever they are involved in a slight delay, “fines” are imposed without any concession. Rule is law, the authorities concerned say in defence of they stern approach. Rules are, theoretically, made to be honoured in practice. In Nepal, the legal ideal is observed more in its breach than in faithfully sticking to its letter and spirit. There are numerous examples of such being the case.
Take the case of Nepal Airlines and a number of other agencies at Tribhuvan International Airport premises, which owe the Civil Aviation authorities more than Rs. 2 billion. Nepal Airlines owes Rs 340 million while Air Asia and Air India owe Rs 560 million and Rs 150 million respectively.
Why did not the authorities pull up the defaulters on time and made an example of them in order to send the message that whose who flout the regulation cannot expect leniency? Surely, they would have dealt with individuals in a very strict manner.

Airlines misconduct
Nepal Airlines is in the news for not conducting due audit for not 10 or 20 years but for 40 years! Who to blame? The Rana rule did not have any airlines. The 30-year Panchayat period ensured regular auditing but it too failed during its last decade. The multi-party polity failed for 30 years!
Such misconduct cannot happen without official blessings. The ones appointed to the top jobs have big backing from the influential and powerful. Professional qualifications of the meritorious type are secondary. Blind loyalty to political leaders, party membership and a very deep pocket are generally the three prime factors that an individual hopeful to the important posts must possess. Mere professional qualifications, of however high grade they might be, cannot land a person to the right job.
And Nepal Airlines is not the only public institution blatantly avoiding mandatory auditing. Yet, our leaders never tire of emphasising good governance as an essential element of a functioning democracy where governance has the daunting task of translating its ideals into daily practice starting from the highest point in state power structure.

War & cricket
It is nearly 40 year since landlocked and poverty-stricken Afghanistan has suffered unending wars one after another. The last seven years have witnessed armed conflict between the United States-backed Kabul regime and the Taliban that whose government was ousted by the invading foreign forces led and mobilised by the United States. Peace, as a result, is yet to return. Two generations of Afghans have not witnessed any normalcy.
Thousands of civilians lose their lives and limbs every year. At one time, as many as on-third of that South Asian country’s entire population were refugees in neighbouring countries. Yet, notwithstanding such traumatic times, Afghan people have affirmed where there is a will, there is a way.
Amid daily bombardments and regular suicide bombings in the capital Kabul and other cities of a country, where nearly half of the territory are under the control of rebels, has recorded its first ever victory in Test cricket on March 18. The Afghan team beat fellow newcomers Ireland in Dehradun last fortnight. The International Cricket Council awarded Afghanistan and Ireland full membership in 2017, enabling them to become the 11th and 12th teams brought aboard to play the cricketing world’s long and respected format.
What about Nepal? The so-called people’s war waged by Maoists for a decade until 2006 is supposed to be over since 13 years. A lot of noise is made whenever our team puts up a modicum of satisfactory performance. Consistency, however, remains missing. Nepal’s national team making it to the test version of cricket is a long way off. How long way off, no one can say. There is not even a specific strategy and target to make it to the big league in which Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives are the only South Asian countries nowhere in sight. India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and, now, Afghanistan have made it to the privileged club. But Afghan success story is of special significance considering that Kabul risked so much and for so many years in what has come to be known as the “forever war”.
Nepalese sports officials would do well to learn from their Afghan counterparts. But this is most unlikely as far as putting a target into practice and satisfactory performance.

Cull art work
The national museum of Nepal should cull its art collection by lending some of them to other museums that the government should promote across the country. Literally, thousands of such works of earlier centuries rest gathering dust in various racks and rooms locked virtually permanently because of lack of space to display them with adequate security for visitors to savour the architectural brilliance and/or rich history of art work in Nepal.
Knowledgeable sources say that, if the art works in state store houses cannot be displayed at the national museum in Kathmandu, provincial governments need to be prodded to build their own museums and obtain on loan for a specific period and under due terms of reference the art works lying secluded from public view since decades in the capital city. That sounds reasonable. But who cares to be reasonable these days?

Without comment
Deputy Prime Minister Upendra Yadav looking after the Ministry of Health, at a programme in Pokhara, as quoted in The Himalayan Times: “The country is in need of 21,000 doctors, but the government has just 1,400 doctors right now. How can such tiny manpower provide health services to people?”

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