Once again, the Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS) has been found bypassing Nepal’s existing laws to spend over five billion rupees. This arbitrary spending of billions bypassing concerned government agencies highlights woes at NRCS. The agency skipped the Social Welfare Council (SWC) and ran its projects without prior approval. Earlier, we also reported about millions in extravagant spending by NRCS in luxury meetings in Chitwan in the name of project appraisal. This must change at NRCS. Nepal Red Cross should have first applied to SWC with project details for approval and should have received a recommendation letter from the Council for renewal of its registration to the concerned district administration. NRCS renewed its contract for the next three years without due process. The organization has not been forthcoming in its bookkeeping when it comes to billions that came to aid earthquake survivors. Red Cross is internationally known for its dedicated service to the people in times of stress and crisis. When the organization itself is mired in corruption and practices that are not in line with the existing law of the land, we have more than one reason to suspect that something is not right within the organization.
Using political influence, NRCS Chairman Sanjeev Thapa is openly flouting the law. And Thapa has been serving in this capacity for around 11 years now. He is reportedly vying for another term as well. When someone is in charge of such a huge organization for a long time, there is very little incentive for change and innovation. He is using political connection to approve projects with pure disregard for the law. His activities—as reported many times by this newspaper—do not fit him to hold the post at Nepal Red Cross. We live in a country where natural disasters are common. Agencies like NRCS must stay alert and agile. If their efficiency and transparency is questioned, this would be unfortunate for the organization itself and the country it is working in.
The NRCS receives billions in support from within the country and outside. If the money and other resources are not being used properly then the leadership must do everything it can to ensure utmost transparency in all of its activities. The people have the right to know the happenings at Nepal Red Cross. Ensuring transparency and accountability are important for any national and international organizations. This increases their credibility, boost public image and trust. Besides, they will be appreciated for the noble works they carry out. In case of NRCS, we are afraid, this does not seem to be happening. We hope that the concerned agencies investigate the allegations of wrong doing at NRCS and punish those involved so that the sanctity of the organization that has served in Nepal for over five decades now is preserved.