Proposal to name Neupane NAC chairman presented

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Aug 4, 2014-

Tourism Minister Bhim Prasad Acharya has made another attempt to make Shiva Saran Neupane chairman of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) after his first effort failed. He has presented a fresh proposal to the Cabinet to appoint Neupane as chairman, but this time without an executive role.

Sources at the Tourism Ministry said that Minister Acharya inducted Neupane into NAC’s board of directors after its chairman Tourism Secretary Sushil Ghimire retired in July.

Neupane’s entry into the board is the first step on the way to the chairman’s post. NAC sources said they had not been informed of his appointment.

On June 4, Minister Acharya decided to revive the dual executive power system at NAC by appointing Neupane as its executive chairman even though it already had a managing director as the chief. However, the proposal was rejected by the Cabinet.

The government had ended the dual power arrangement and appointed Madan Kharel as managing director through open competition in December 2012 after being fed up by a five-year power struggle between the managing director and the executive chairman.

Kharel had been named by the government’s Chief Executive Appointment Recommendation Committee to put an end to the constant tug-of-war between the two bosses due to their apparently overlapping jurisdiction.

NAC officials said that the chairman had been entrusted with a decision-making role for every proposal tabled by management.

“Although the chairman will not have any executive power and will be unable to interfere in management matters, his role will be vital in the decision making process and when approving any proposal of the management,” said a NAC official. Appointing a chairman from outside a government agency can create a dispute at the corporation, added the official. The usual practice has been to name the tourism secretary as NAC’s chairman of the board.

Two weeks ago, Acharya had asked NAC board members representing the private sector to resign so he could appoint his own men in their place.

Neupane had formerly been named to the NAC board when Manarup Shahi was the executive chairman. He was subsequently removed as there was one member too many in the seven-member board which violated the NAC Act 1963.

According to sources, tensions between Minister Acharya and Kharel grew after he refused to obey the minister’s order to purchase two jets immediately.

Kharel opposed the minister’s idea stating that NAC had two aircraft on

order which were scheduled to arrive by April next year, and that it was not

viable to procure more jets under its current financial status.

Sources said Minister Acharya wanted to reshuffle the NAC board first and then decide the managing director’s fate.

Published: 05-08-2014 10:49

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