Cor­rupt min­is­ters ha­rass com­pe­tent, hon­est em­ploy­ees

People's Review - - FRONT PAGE - By Our Re­porter

Cor­rupt min­is­ters in the present jumbo-cab­i­net re­sort to any im­moral and il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties to re­lieve the hon­est and com­pe­tent boss of the govern­ment en­ti­ties was once again ex­posed when Min­is­ter of Tourism and Civil Avi­a­tion Ji­ten­dra Dev sought clar­i­fi­ca­tion from San­jeev Gau­tam, di­rec­tor gen­eral of the Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity of Nepal (CAAN). Ac­cord­ing to news re­ports, Min­is­ter Dev wanted to re­move Gau­tam when the lat­ter re­jected to buy the land of Ang Ch­hir­ing Sherpa to ex­pand the air­port of Dha­ran. Sherpa had bought the land some 15 years ago at a very cheap cost. Now Sherpa is ex­ert­ing pres­sure on Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Bi­jaya Gach­hadar and other lead­ers of the rul­ing par­ties to buy his land for the air­port. Even DPM Gach­hadar's son had a share for half of the land. As there is no need for any land to ex­pand the Dha­ran air­port, Gau­tam re­jected the pres­sure. Like­wise, Gau­tam re­jected to pro­vide a share of the rent the TIA col­lects from its shut­ters to Min­is­ter Dev. When Min­is­ter Dev's plan to spend Rs 3 bil­lion un­nec­es­sar­ily to buy the land failed, he is now try­ing to re­move Gau­tam seek­ing clar­i­fi­ca­tions. Gau­tam pre­sented a 1600- page clar­i­fi­ca­tion. Re­moval of Gau­tam will be a set­back in the up­grad­ing of the TIA as he had de­cided to ter­mi­nate the con­tract of Con­struc­tora San Jose S.A. a Span­ish Com­pany for its un­sat­is­fac­tory per­for­mance in the up­grad­ing of the TIA. Gau­tam's re­moval will be a re­lief for the com­pany. CAAN had ear­lier won the case brought by the Span­ish com­pany, Con­struc­tora San Jose S.A., at Kath­mandu District Court, a high court and at a court in Spain. Also, a Sin­ga­pore-based ar­bi­tra­tor had ac­cepted CAAN's claim that the ar­bi­tra­tor could not take up the case. Un­sat­is­fied with the work of the Span­ish con­trac­tor, CAAN had ter­mi­nated the con­tract with the con­trac­tor and it had also seized the per­for­mance guar­an­tee and ad­vance pay­ment. The con­trac­tor had de­posited Rs 578 mil­lion as per­for­mance guar­an­tee and Rs 1.08 bil­lion as ad­vance pay­ment. These sums have al­ready been trans­ferred to CAAN's bank ac­count. Af­ter the ter­mi­na­tion of the con­tract, the Span­ish com­pany had de­manded Rs 2.17 bil­lion in com­pen­sa­tion from CAAN whereas CAAN paid only Rs 90 mil­lion to the com­pany. How­ever, the lat­est move by Min­is­ter Dev show­ing weak­ness on the part of Gau­tam is likely to ben­e­fit the Span­ish con­trac­tor.

Sources at the min­istry said that the min­is­ter's seek­ing clar­i­fi­ca­tions from the di­rec­tor gen­eral is cre­at­ing ground that may com­pel the Nepal govern­ment to lose around Rs 6 bil­lion in pay­ment of com­pen­sa­tion to the con­trac­tor and seizure of the de­posits for per­for­mance guar­an­tee and ad­vance pay­ment. In­formed sources said that Min­is­ter Dev sought clar­i­fi­ca­tions from Gau­tam on Wednesday in coordination with the min­istry's joint sec­re­tary Suresh Acharya and in col­lu­sion with some busi­nessper­sons with a plan to re­move Gau­tam from his post. The sources said Acharya has been sup­port­ing the min­is­ter to re­move Gau­tam as the former wants to bag the post of man­ag­ing di­rec­tor for him­self while the busi­nessper­sons in ques­tion want to re­move Gau­tam from the key post as he has been re­ject­ing var­i­ous pro­pos­als from power bro­kers and some bu­reau­crats. Though some groups filed a com­plaint at the Com­mis­sion for the In­ves­ti­ga­tion of Abuse of Au­thor­ity (CIAA) against Gau­tam, he was given a clean chit a year ago as the anti-graft body didn't find any wrong­do­ing on his part. Of­fi­cials at the min­istry said the min­is­ter's at­tempt to re­move Gau­tam from his post may sab­o­tage Gau­tam's sev­eral ini­tia­tives to im­prove the coun­try's avi­a­tion sec­tor. Gau­tam's years-long ini­tia­tives have just started yield­ing pos­i­tive re­sults. Re­cently ICAO had re­moved Nepal from its ‘sig­nif­i­cant safety con­cern list', while the Euro­pean Union's re­cent study team has also given some pos­i­tive hints with re­gard to al­low­ing Nepal Air­lines to fly in the Euro­pean skies, re­ported The Repub­lica.

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