Regulator mess hampers I/NGOs’ quake rehab bid

- Post Report, Kathmandu
Minister Mainali’s cadres have padlocked Social Welfare Council member secy’s office while incumbent has been recalled

Jan 31, 2016-Amid a slow start to the government-led reconstruction process, a turf war between the line minster and the head of the Social Welfare Council has likely affected coordination and approval of reconstruction works by I/NGOs in earthquake-affected districts.

Cadres from the party of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare CP Mainali have padlocked Council Member Secretary Rabindra Kumar’s office, assigning a joint-secretary from the ministry to look after the Council’s activities “for the time being”.

The Council monitors and coordinates the activities of around 40,000 NGOs and 200 INGOs working in Nepal. In view of relieving incumbent Member Secretary Kumar, Minister Mainali on January 13 assigned Joint-secretary Narayan Kafle to handle the Council. The decision has already been endorsed by the Cabinet and the member secretary recalled.

“The minister kept the Cabinet members in dark and created a false impression that the member-secretary’s position was vacant,” said Kumar, whose term expires in mid-April.

At least one dozen NGOs had been approaching the Council seeking approval for relief and rehabilitation works in the quake-affected districts, said Kumar. He has refused the minister’s call to appear at the ministry, which led Mainali to get his cadres to padlock the member-secretary’s office. “His [Mainali’s] men took the keys from the peon. I haven’t been able to work from office for the last two weeks,” said Kumar.

He has moved the Supreme Court challenging the minister’s decision. As a result, a single bench of Chief Justice Kalyan Shrestha last Monday ordered the minister to attend the court before an interim order is issued.

Sources at the Social Welfare Council say Minister Mainali wants to replace the incumbent member-secretary before his term expires. Mainali was not available for comments despite repeated attempts by the Post. Member-secretary Kumar denies any ‘wrongdoing’ during his four years in office.

Meanwhile, Minister Mainali seized a vehicle being used by National Disabled Fund President Nitesh Kumar Gupta, a differently abled person himself. Gupta has filed a complaint against the ministry at the District Admini-stration Office demanding the vehicle be returned.

Published: 31-01-2016 09:12

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