State of loot

January 16, 2018 02:00 AM Republica


Abuse of state coffers 

A handful of big private contractors in collusion with government officials are found to have stolen Rs eight to 14 billions off the state treasury last year alone. That money could have been used to build roads, highways and hydro projects. Government officials and private contractors are making billions at the cost of proper infrastructures and no one is bothered about this. It appears state treasury is open for loot as long as those in power also receive their due share. Even the present government has distributed 160 million rupees to prime minister and ministers’ near and dear ones after the elections. These are deeply worrying trends. While millions toil in the deadly heat of the Middle East to make a decent living for their families back home and sustain the country’s economy, those in power are milking off the state that now has herculean task of gathering enough resources to run the federal structure. 

A handful of contractors basically run the biggest contracting syndicate in the country. Smaller companies have to depend on the big ones to receive some work. More disturbing, government officials play along with the song and help big contractors get their way and in turn, the officials make good money too. This level of collusion will only further erode the public trust in our government. Our government struggles to survive beyond a 12-month mark and that’s why the civil servants are the key to running many aspects of our public programs. Government officials, in collusion with contractors, seem to be able to easily bend political leaders to their will. This abuse of power and system is a blatant violation of people’s trust on those entrusted with carrying out the responsibilities of managing state resources. 

If the democracy we all fought so hard is meant only for strong and powerful ones, then what was the purpose of sacrifices of millions? The government must thoroughly investigate those involved in profiteering from criminal involvement in bending rules to benefit the big contractors and punish all those involved in this nefarious deed. On his part, the prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba should at least work to ensure that more abuse of state powers and state resources does not take place under his watch. The caretaker prime minister has only a

few days to serve until the new government is formed. In his last few days, if he could leave a good legacy, it would contribute to salvaging his and his own party’s image that has reached a new low after the defeat in national elections. Or else we will only see collusion to deplete state resources to benefit the few at the top. Similarly, the government must stop distributing money in the name of “medical expenses” to their near and dear ones. A majority of illness can now be treated for free in public hospitals. Why not build on to that system to make the whole process transparent and fair? The age-old practice of simply handing out money to the connected ones does not go well with our democratic framework. We ought to make our government clean and transparent.

 

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