Misplaced priorities

March 22, 2018 02:00 AM Republica


Ministers in inaugurations

There is something visibly amiss about the way ministers, speaker of House of Representatives, chairman of National Assembly and other key leaders of ruling CPN-UML and Maoist Center are performing their duties. While Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli from the day one has been telling the media that his team does not have a single moment to waste and therefore they must work on war footing to deliver, recent activities of his ministers and other officials in the legislature disprove this claim. The prime minister took more than a month to give full shape to the cabinet. This was understandable for he had been trying to bring Madhes-based parties on board and this demanded fair amount of time for negotiations. Now the cabinet is almost complete with 22 ministers, but they are still wasting precious time on unproductive activities. 

We have found that they are spending too much time attending formal functions, accepting congratulations and meeting their cadres and well wishers. Speaker of the parliament, Krishna Bahadur Mahara and Chairman of the National Assembly Ganesh Timilsina are the examples. Mahara was in Dang to attend function organized by Ghorahi Municipality and the Dang chapter of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Timilsina was in his home district Parbat on Tuesday. Youth and Sports Minister Jagat Bahadur Sunar Bishwakarma went to his home district just to accept congratulations from locals. Two ministers reached Melamchi drinking water supply tunnel site in Sindhupalchowk for inspection. Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, who has earned criticism for offering juice to break hunger strike of Resham Chaudhary, the main accused  in Tikapur massacre, was also found to meet Maoist leader and murder-convict Balkrishna Dhungel and serial killer Charles Sobhraj in jail.

These are not good indicators for ministers and heads of the Upper and Lower Houses. There is nothing wrong in meeting cadres and well wishers, but they are doing this at the cost of urgent work they need to do in their respective ministries and the parliament. First, dozens of urgent laws are yet to be enacted for implementation of federalism and safeguarding fundamental rights envisioned by the statute. Heads of lower and upper House have the responsibility to speed up the process. Ministers should start delivering on the promises made by the Left Alliance in the campaign trail.  Minister for General Administration Lal Babu Pandit and Minister for Labor and Employment Gokarna Bista have started taking decisions. Pandit has directed civil servants to get to the work stations without any delay and Bista has announced to open labor permit offices in towns outside of Kathmandu. Other ministers have not displayed similar optimism. Prime Minister Oli has issued instructions to his ministers not to waste time on ritual activities such as inaugurations and felicitations. This is positive. But people will believe in his words when they are actually implemented. The country has found a strong majority government after a long time.  The ministers and officials of the legislature have no liberty to engage in unproductive functions. The party is over. They should start working. People are watching.

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