Dr Naryan Khatri's "Soul Searching" (Letters, #95) proves that we are still not ready to look within ourselves to identify the cause of the problems plaguing this country. The World Bank and ADB do not see loans as handouts as our national banks have done until they went bust. The two banks in question want their money back. The only means they see are if the NEC raises tariff. But the fault, dear doctor, lies within ourselves. NEC does not bother to collect money from big institutions and business houses. I have been witness to such practices. While working for a small firm, the management changed hands and we discovered that we had not paid electricity bills for almost two years. Our electricity was never cut although our bills had accumulated to more than Rs 150,000. Strangely our landlord's line, which lighted up only the staircase of the building, was cut because he had not paid a bill of Rs 1,200. The story does not end there. I was sent along with the accountant to clear up the matter. Guess what? They had no idea what we owed, and asked us to come back later. A few days later, the accountant there pulled out ledgers they had put away. It took him a considerably long time to add up the bills. Finally the bigwigs there told us to pay a fine of 50 percent. After desperate pleas it was reduced to 30 percent. We paid in instalments. How many companies pay their bills, or is it cheaper to pay bribes? A restaurant owner in Thamel once told me he was compelled to cheat on electricity bills, otherwise his rates would not be competitive. Let us not even talk about government offices. How can we blame the donors?
Dinesh Rai, Naxal