Private sector protest

  • 30 days on, no govt efforts yet
- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Private sector protest

May 29, 2014-

As the protest launched by travel trade entrepreneurs against the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) entered its 30th day on Thursday, there is no sign of efforts from the government to resolve the crisis.

With more cases of irregularities by NTB’s officiating CEO Subash Nirola coming to light, the Tourism Ministry is yet to take action against him. Neither the government investigation into the case has made any headway.

It has been revealed Nirola withdrew money in the name of NTB staffers by forging documents from banks. More than Rs 18 million has been withdrawn, but the staffers have expressed ignorance.

The disgruntled travel traders have warned of picketing the Constituent Assembly hall on Friday if their demands are not addressed. They have also planned to halt all tourism activities from Sunday.

Formed on May 11, a three-member probe committee led by Purna Chandra Bhattarai, joint secretary of the Tourism Ministry, was asked to submit its report within 15 days. But ministry sources said nothing has been done so far on this front. “Due to the lack of cooperation from the government as well as the private sector, the investigation has not moved ahead, although the deadline for report submission ended on Tuesday,” said a ministry official.

The committee had been entrusted with the task of studying the amended financial bylaws and recommending necessary action. It has also been asked to probe the NTB’s income and expenditure for the past three years and advise the government on the measures to be taken if financial misconduct is detected.

Other tasks given to the committee are studying the complaints filed against the NTB at the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority and other agencies, looking into the expenditure of tax money collected by issuing Trekkers Information Management System cards to foreign trekkers and recommending better ways to manage it. The amended bylaws that have upset the tourism industry have given the NTB’s chief executive exclusive rights to spend freely in excess of the limit set by the Public Procurement Act.

The bylaws also allow the board to award contracts without competitive bidding even though the act says that tenders should be called before doing so.

Published: 30-05-2014 09:19

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