NOC of­fi­cials are likely to be in the soup

People's Review - - NEWS - By Our Re­porter

The Nepal Oil Cor­po­ra­tion and its boss Go­pla Khadka are now in the soup after the me­dia ex­posed their ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties amount­ing to Rs 670 mil­lion in the pro­cure­ment of pieces of land in Ru­pan­dehi, Chit­wan, Sar­lahi and Jhapa dis­tricts for Rs 1.61 bil­lion.

The cor­rupt of­fi­cials have pur­chased lands, mostly in the river banks, by pay­ing higher than the ac­tual prices in Jhapa, Ru­pan­dehi, Sar­lahi and Chit­wan dis­tricts. Last week the Ro­hini River was seen run­ning on the land the NOC had pur­chased in Ru­pan­dehi which only proved that the NOC had pur­chased riverbed to build oil stor­age.

When the par­lia­men­tary Public Ac­counts Com­mit­tee has al­ready asked the Com­mis­sion for the In­ves­ti­ga­tion of Abuse of Author­ity (CIAA) to con­duct de­tailed in­ves­ti­ga­tions and take ac­tion against those in­volved in the controversial land pro­cure­ment deal, the Par­lia­men­tary Com­mit­tee on In­dus­try, Com­merce and Con­sumer Wel­fare has de­cided to con­duct an on-site visit of the land pur­chased by Nepal Oil Cor­po­ra­tion for pe­tro­leum stor­age in four dis­tricts.

When the par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tees are pre­par­ing to con­duct on-site visit, the NOC of­fi­cials may not be able to avoid pun­ish­ment this time.

The par­lia­men­tary Com­mit­tee on In­dus­try, Com­merce and Con­sumer Wel­fare on Sun­day de­cided to send a group of law­mak­ers elected from the four dis­tricts where the NOC pur­chased the land in controversial deal for in­spec­tion. The of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing its gen­eral man­ager of NOC, have come un­der me­dia and par­lia­men­tary scrutiny for buy­ing land pay­ing sev­eral times higher for the land.

The NOC is found guilty of buy­ing land si­t­u­ated on the river banks which can be swept away or in­un­dated any time. As the news of the NOC's land pur­chase scam started mak­ing head­lines, gen­eral man­ager Gopal Ba­hadur Khadka was re­ported to have is­sued threats to a jour­nal­ist who wrote about the NOC's land pur­chases and other news items re­lated to it. Not only that the NOC of­fi­cials paid higher prices than the ac­tual cost of the land, they also pur­chased more land than needed with the sole in­ten­tion of swelling up their own wal­lets. The Par­lia­men­tary Com­mit­tee on In­dus­try, Com­merce and Con­sumer Wel­fare found that the NOC pur­chased four Bighas more land than the area ap­proved by the Board of Di­rec­tors pay­ing dou­ble of the prices. In a re­port the Com­mit­tee said that the NOC had pur­chased more than the ap­proved land in four dis­tricts while it was in the process of buy­ing more land in other dis­tricts as well.

The Board of Di­rec­tors has per­mit­ted to buy 15 to 20 Bighas of land in Jhapa but the NOC of­fi­cials bought more than 24 Bighas of land. Like­wise, in Bhiarawa it pur­chased 27 bighas against ap­proved 15 bighas.

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