25 people including the advisor to the communication minister competing for the post of NTA chairman

Published On: February 6, 2024 10:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Feb 5: Twenty-five people are in the fray to become the chairman of Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA). High-profile individuals as well as controversial figures from Bhupendra Bhandari, the advisor to Minister for Communication and Information Technology Rekha Sharma, to Dolindra Prasad Sharma, the former general manager of Sajha Publications, have applied for the post of chairman of the NTA.

After failing to withstand the pressure of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Minister for Communication and Information Technology Rekha Sharma, the Chairman of the NTA, Purushottam Khanal, resigned on January 9 with seven months left in his tenure. After his resignation, the ministry's recommendation committee led by Communication and IT Secretary Ram Krishna Subedi issued a notice on January 28 seeking applications for the post of NTA chairman.

Bhandari, who is an advisor to the communication minister, and has previously led various institutions, is seen as an aspiring candidate. 

Bhandari, who is considered to be a strong contender for the post, was appointed as the Telecommunications and Information Technology Advisor to the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology by a cabinet decision on June 20.

Bhandari served as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Smart Mobile from 2008 to 2015, operated the company in Burundi with investments from Upendra Mahato, the founding president of the Non-Resident Nepalese Association. He also held the position of CEO at Intergroup Telecom in Sierra Leone.

Meanwhile, Dolindra Prasad Sharma of Baglung-9 was suspended from Sajha Publications on September 24, 2017, due to irregularities. Along with Bhandari and Sharma, former executive director of Radio Nepal Suresh Kumar Karki is also in the fray.

Similarly, Anil Jha, Rohit Rauniyar, Dev Narayan Yadav, Prakash Baral, Nagendra Kumar Das, Nanda Bikram Adhikari and Madhav Prasad Regmi have applied for the coveted post. Sagarnath Upadhyaya, Sushil Ojha, Ram Dev Yadav, Nabin GC, Girindra Raj Adhikari, Janardan Bhatta and Lakshmi Prasad Pandit have also applied for the post.

Likewise, other candidates include Damodar Regmi, Shailendra Giri, Shree Krishna Subedi, Pankaj Kumar Das, Gokarna Prasad Sitaula, Chitra Singh Budhathoki Magar and Kamal Prasad Khanal.

Those who have applied to become the chairman of the NTA have already started lobbying with the leaders and ministers of various political parties to be appointed to the post. The committee headed by Secretary Subedi will recommend the names of three people for appointment to the Council of Ministers. Accordingly, the Council of Ministers will appoint one person as the chairman of NTA.

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