Entrepreneurs on hunger strike against NTB action

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

May 15, 2014-

Agitating travel trade entrepreneurs on Thursday launched a six-day ‘relay hunger strike’ on the premises of the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) to exert pressure on the government to address their demands.

The travel trade associations started off the second phase of protest opposing a government probe panel formed to look into charges of financial irregularities at the NTB. They said they had demanded a high-level commission instead of the current panel to probe alleged irregularities.

On May 11, the Tourism Ministry formed the three-member committee to investigate the NTB top brass who have been charged with irregularities by amending its Financial Bylaws in contravention of the Public Procurement Act (PPA).

Ramesh Dhamala, president of the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal,

warned of resorting to a stronger protest if their demands were not addressed in the next six days.

“We met Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on Thursday and apprised him of our demands. He is positive towards our demand,” Dhamala said. “We will not roll back the protest unless our demands are addressed.”

 The disgruntled entrepreneurs have been demanding the removal of officiating CEO of NTB Subash Nirola to clear the way for an early appointment of new CEO. They have also demanded probe NTB’s income and expenditures over the past three years, among others.

The amendment to the bylaws has handed the NTB’s chief executive exclusive rights to spend freely in excess of the limit set by the PPA. The bylaws also allow the board to award contracts without competitive bidding.

As many as 35 travel trade associations from across the country are protesting NTB’s misuse of the tax money for 16 days.

Published: 16-05-2014 10:49

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