At government’s seat, festive mood has yet to wear off

- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu

Oct 23, 2018-

Two days after the end of Dashain holidays, hundreds of government offices including ministries at Singha Durbar, the country’s main administrative building, and departments still seem to be in festive mood. Hundreds of civil servants have yet to report to office, affecting service delivery.

Several secretaries, joint-secretaries and lower level staff were absent from the ministries on Monday. Chambers of ministers and high-ranking officials were closed.

One senior official inside Singha Durbar said, “I could not serve tea and water to my guests as my staff have not returned from holidays.”

One of the busiest government offices is the Department of Passport, which issues passport and delivers the document to the districts and Nepal’s diplomatic missions abroad. On an average, it distributes more than 1,000 passports a day and receives as many applications. On the first working day after Dashain, it received 330 passport applications on Sunday. The number increased on Monday, said Tirtha Aryal, spokesperson for the department.

The licence section of the Department of Transport Management also witnessed a low turnout of service seekers on Sunday and Monday. This meant that fewer officials in attendance were able to serve them.

Singha Durbar, the government secretariat, looked almost deserted until Monday. Few government officials and service seekers were seen on the premises. Senior officials who did not celebrate the festival or lived near Kathmandu attended office. But junior officials and staffers, who left Kathmandu to celebrate the festival, were yet to return. “Civil servants are gradually joining office,” said Dinesh Thapaliya, secretary at the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration. “The festive mood is not over yet.”

The government slashed the number of public holidays for Dashain significantly this year. There used to be holidays until Kojagrat Purnima, four days after Bijaya Dashami. But officials are now required to join office one day after tika.

Very few ministers were seen in their office on Monday as many are still outside Kathmandu to celebrate the festival with their relatives. Officials, however, claimed that service delivery was not hit hard given a huge drop in demand.

Published: 23-10-2018 08:10

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