KATHMANDU, August 2: Lawmakers have demanded action against all those perpetuating massive financial irregularities while purchasing land plots to build petroleum storage depots of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC).
They have asked the government to launch an investigation against the land purchase deals, which were carried out with the support of those in the power center, that have inflicted loss of tens of millions of rupees on the state-owned petroleum monopolist. The lawmakers also said that the culprits should not get political protection.
Speaking at a meeting of parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Wednesday, lawmaker Dhan Raj Gurung said public money should not be misused to serve vested interest of few“ "News reports say NOC has paid Rs 1 million for land plot that cost only Rs 300,00”," he said in the meeting.
Gurung took strong objection to NOC Managing Director Gopal Bahadur Khadka's accusations that power center, who does not want NOC to build petroleum storage facility, was blowing the issue out of proportion.
Similarly, another Member of Parliament (MP), Devkaram Prahlad, said the NOC purchased private land while the government was preparing to provide public land to build storage facility“ "The government was prepared to provide 25 bigha of land in different community forests to the NOC. But NOC officials chose to buy land on river bank”," Pralhad said, adding“ "Before building storage facility, the NOC will have to build embankments to save the land from erosio”."
Likewise, Dimpal Kumari Jha, MP, said irregularities have been seen while purchasing land in Sarlahi as well“ "The NOC has paid as high as Rs 950,000 for land that costs only around Rs 300,00”," she said, adding that the NOC has purchased high price for cheaper land.
Another lawmaker Ramhari Khatiwada blamed that some people were making some fast bucks while the country is facing crisis“ "Petroleum storage facility is the need of the hour. But instead of looking for cheaper land, NOC has bought land from brokers instead of dealing directly with land owner”," he added.
Referring to Land Acquisition Act, Bharat Saud, MP, said that public enterprises cannot buy land by inviting bid”," Saud said in the meeting“ "Government employees have become corrup”," he alleged.
Lawmaker Radha Krishna Kandel said that NOC employees, who earlier used to focus on getting bonus, earned a windfall by buying river banks.