PM's sister-in-law new chairman of KUKL, employees cry foul
KATHANDU, Dec 10: Timila Yami, sister-in-law of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, has been appointed the chairman of Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL) replacing the incumbent Prayag Lal Joshi. Joshi, an expert in drinking water management, who was selected to lead the KUKL 20 months ago through a free competition, defeating Timila and other contenders to the post.
Employees at KUKL accused that Timila was appointed to the post just because she is a close relative of Prime Minister Bhattarai. Sources at KUKL said the decision was taken under the pressure from Hisila Yami, Timila´s sister, who overlooks the Ministry of Urban Development held by the prime minister.
Timila´s firm has been selling software to the KUKL for a long time. She was disappointed after the company decided to replace the existing software with an advance one.
According to Milan Shakya, company secretary at KUKL, the meeting of shareholders held last Wednesday concluded that selection of Joshi, the previous chairman, was done without following due process.
"The meeting decided to appoint Mrs Timila as chairman until the shareholders select another candidate," Shakya said. The government, Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), Lalitpur Sub Metropolis, Nepal Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), Bhaktapur Chamber of Commerce and Industry and employees of KUKL are the shareholders of the company.
Sources say HisilaYami had been pressuring KMC and Lalitpur Sub Metropolis officials to replace the representatives who had supported Joshi in the free competition.
The KMC and Lalitpur Sub Metropolis have recently replaced some representatives following the pressure from Hisila. Sanjaya Upadhya has replaced Mahesh Kafley, KMC´s previous representative, and Rudra Gautam replaced Baburaja Maharjan as Lalitpur Sub Metropolis´ representative.
Former chair of KUKL Joshi said he would challenge the decision of shareholders in Supreme Court. "I have become a victim of politics. I will seek justice from the court," Joshi said. As per the company´s act, no one can sack its chairman before the end of his/her four-year tenure.
Joshi said that Timila had reservations about the change in KUKL´s existing billing software. "I don´t understand why Timila Ji objects to the new computer billing system which was preferred even by the Asian Development Bank," he said. Joshi said that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) was satisfied with his performance.