Education branch head of rural municipality in Kalikot receives Rs 400,000 in bribe for construction of school building

Published On: May 13, 2023 07:50 PM NPT By: Lalit Bista

KALIKOT, May 13: Kal Bahadur Bhandari, head of the education branch of Palanta Rural Municipality of Kalikot, has been accused of taking a bribe of Rs 400,000 for approving a project worth Rs 5 million.

Bhandari allegedly took a commission from the lunch money received in the name of the students for the construction of the building of Siddhanath Basic School in Palanta Rural Municipality-2.

Krishna BK, principal of Siddhanath Basic School, said that Bhandari took a bribe of Rs 400,000 as a commission just to give his consent to construct the building of the school in mid-July 2022. 

“Due to the lack of buildings, students are forced to study under the open sky. The head of the education branch asked for a commission of Rs 400,000 for the construction of a building worth five million rupees. So, I deposited it in his account. However, construction of the building never took place. Neither did he return the money back,” said the school principal  BK.

The principal of Siddhanath Basic School, Krishna BK, has deposited the commission amount requested by Bhandari in two vouchers of Rs 335,000 and Rs 65,000 in Nabil Bank located in Palanta Rural Municipality in the account number 7510017500005 in the name of Kal Bahadur Bhandari on August 24, 2022.

"The school building is dilapidated. Although the budget was requested from the rural municipality several times for the construction of the building, the budget was not allocated. When requesting the head of the education branch, he asked for Rs 400,000 in advance, saying that since there is no budget in the municipality, the provincial government should give it to implement the plan.” BK said. “After deducting lunch money and other money from the school account, we deposited 400,000 in the bank account of the Education Branch chief. Now, we are not able to provide mid-day meals to the students.”

At present, the students of Siddhanath Basic School in Palata Rural Municipality-2 are studying in a dilapidated building and an open courtyard. In order to make the children of Karnali regular in school, the Nepal government has been giving daily lunch at the rate of Rs 20 to every student.

Meanwhile, Kal Bahadur Bhandari, Head of the Education Branch of Palanta Rural Municipality, did not pick up the phone when Republica tried to contact him. His phone was switched off after some time. He was removed as the head of the Education Branch by the previous local government for financial irregularities.

After the second local level election in May 2022, with the arrival of a new representative, Bhandari again assumed the responsibility of the head of the education branch. Locals said that Bhandari always plays the role of a middleman, asking for plans and doing business to collect money. One person, who did not want to be named, said, "He is a teacher affiliated to the Maoist Center. He works as an intermediary with the local level and state government and collects commission in every scheme.”

Similarly, Palanta Rural Municipality chief Bishnu Bahadur Rokaya said that he will investigate the matter. He said, "I received complaints regarding the head of the Education Branch when I visited the village. I have not met him. We will investigate this matter.”

Jora Singh Majhi, the chief district officer who also holds the responsibility of the authority in the district, said that he will investigate if there is a complaint about the Palanta rural municipality's education branch taking commission. He said, "We have not received any complaints yet. If there is a complaint, we will investigate it. If found guilty, we will take action against both commission givers and takers.”

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