Govt plans to sell JSSK land to clear debt

- BINOD GHIMIRE, Kathmandu

Nov 6, 2014-

The government is preparing to sell the properties of Janank Shikhya Samagri Kendra (JSSK) to pay off the debt it owes to various banks and financial institutions.

The state-owned publication house is struggling for sustenance under the weight of Rs 1.20 billion debt that accounts for an annual interest of around Rs 120 million.

JSSK has put up its land and infrastructure of its central office at Sanothimi in Bhaktapur, two dozen of its printing press machines and the property at its three regional offices in Pokhara, Dhangadhi and Bharatpur, as collateral in different banks and financial institutions.  The only JSSK’s property that is not up as bank security are its regional offices in Nepalgunj and Biratnagar.

The publication owes around Rs 310 million to Citizens Investment Fund, Rs 660 million to Rastriya Banijya Bank, and Rs 90 million to Bank of Kathmandu. Presenting the plan to save JSSK from bankruptcy before the education sub-committee of the Parliament on Thursday, Bishwo Mani Pandit, secretary at the Ministry of Education, said that selling off property is the only way to clear the publication’s debt. He said that land from the central office in Sanothimi or any of the the regional offices could be sold to pay the loan.

“We are planning to approach Nepal Telecom or other such public enterprise to sell the property,” said Pandit, also the chairman of JSSK Board.

Pandit said the inefficiency of the JSSK and high production cost due to overstaffing had led to its loss. Although JSSK has 585 official positions in its organisation, it had been paying salaries to 724 employees. After the pressure exerted on the publication by the Ministry of Finance to downsize its staff size, the JSSK Board last month sacked 230 temporary staff. Most of them were recommended to their jobs by former education ministers.

 According to Anil Kumar Jha, executive director of JSSK, the publication plans to install security press and publish the confidential documents of government and others agencies to increase its earning. “We are planning to diversify our business to make an earning for sustenance,” he said.

Published: 07-11-2014 09:19

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