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Bureaucratic hurdles

Thursday, July 6th, 2017


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Pic: Shreejana Shrestha

Editorial in Baahrakhari, 4 July

Nepal is an example of how weak political leaderships result in bureaucratic obstructions. Many government employees create hurdles to influence the government’s program and policies. It is one of the malpractices Nepal has learnt from its southern neighbour- India. Most of the times, employees don’t want to work until it benefits them personally. And it is because of this negative culture that Managing Director of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) Kulman Ghising is not getting support from the government.

Ghising ended the decade-long load-shedding, a feat that was deemed almost impossible. NEA has increased electricity imports and internal generation during his tenure. However, these are not the sole reasons for uninterrupted power supply in Kathmandu Valley. Reforms in demand and supply side management, and reduction in power leakage facilitated the process, but credit goes to the incumbent NEA Chief. He publicised a strategy to reduce electricity demand in this winter by replacing incandescent bulbs with efficient light-emitting diode (LEDs). The NEA estimates up to 200MW energy could be saved if 20 million such bulbs are swapped.

The proposal to buy LEDs under the government-to-government deal dragged Ghising into controversy instead of garnering government support. He remarked he ‘no longer cares’ for the LED replacement.

The high ranked government officials might have satisfied their ego by discouraging an utterly honest and competent employee like Ghising, someone who is rare to find in the government mechanism, but the state will have to bear the brunt of this. Employees who are more capable and sincere than Ghising have fallen prey to such malpractices in the past too. People are aware about such conspiracies because of information and technology, and awareness. And it is not easy to discourage the dutiful staffs despite continuous plots to fail them.

LED bulbs are available in Nepal but they cost double the prices of the bulbs NEA wants to import. This means customers can buy a LED bulb for just Rs 150 if they are paying Rs 300 now. It further clarifies that people who are making hefty profits from the LED bulb business are resistant to NEA’s plan. All these syndicates must have ganged up with the bureaucracy to foil Ghising’s mission.

Motives of political leaders are tested in a situation like this. It is the government’s duty to understand the conspiracies of bureaucracy and help the NEA Chief Ghising. If NEA was allowed to import LEDs last month, we could have replaced them already. If Ghising is found to be involved in corruption, he could be punished when caught. But until there is a proof, he should be allowed to work without any hurdles.

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2 Responses to “Bureaucratic hurdles”

  1. lusty manny on Says:

    why mention the southern neighbour for your own the failure and weakness do nepali bureaucrats have to learn malpractices from their indian counterparts?

  2. Anjani Pajiyar on Says:

    Pointing fingers towards southern neighbor for institutionalized corruption pervading in all levels of government employees up to ministers, and intentionally omitting which government’s willingness to help Nepalese people with subsidized LED bulbs; it clearly shows writer’s inclination to paint one neighbor in negative form, even if it has goodness. Finally, the southern neighbor wasn’t responsible for establishing Rana, Panchayat, Shah Dynasty rule, rather it helped in some ways to get rid of them.

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