November 7, 2016 12:45 AM NPT
Misuse of state funds
Nepali leaders are not reviled in media sphere for nothing. They are criticized for working more for petty personal interests than for the larger good of the common people and the country. They are also accused of draining the state resources to enrich themselves and their cronies. Sujata Koirala, the daughter of former PM Girija Prasad Koirala and Nepali Congress leader, has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Social media is abuzz with reports of her asking 10 million rupees from the state to treat her breast cancer. We wish her early recovery but do not believe the state should finance the cost of medical treatment of just about every leader. Koirala is neither the first nor the last Nepali politician to abuse their authority to milk maximum possible benefits from the state. Earlier, former president Ram Baran Yadav, former prime ministers KP Sharma Oli, Jhalanath Khanal and countless former ministers have taken millions from the state in the name of medical treatment, while the common Nepalis have to lose their lives in lack of timely treatment even for easily preventable diseases.
This practice is a slap in the face of Nepalis who sacrificed their lives to bring down the monarchy and establish Loktantra in the country. Democracy meant equal treatment of all of its citizens by the state. Instead we are increasingly seeing a new class of political elites who are hell bent on keep up with the very traditions they fought for. The VVIP treatment lounges at Bir Hospital and Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital are gathering dust. It appears none of our leaders want to use the medical facilities available in the country. It is either they do not trust the systems that they helped create or they see an opportunity to make money from the state in the name of medical treatment. Then what moral authority do the politicians have to ask the people to trust the health care system at home?
Post-Jana Andolan II has been marked by political divisions and instability. However, Nepali political class is united on one issue: their intense desire to cling to power and enjoy the privileges that they have designed for themselves so lavishly. Every former prime minister, home minister and a host of former ministers enjoy considerable perks from the state. It is time for us to reconsider these privileges for it should only be granted on absolute need-based basis. No single politician should be entitled to the privileges for lifetime. It is also rather ironic that many of the political elites have invested millions in hospitals and healthcare industries here at home. But they do not have the confidence to use the facilities they themselves have invested in.
One of the reasons people had fought for republic is that they believed the leaders in new political set up would come above the personal greed and think of the larger good of the country. Sadly, stories of post-Jana Andola II have not been any different from that of pre-Andolan. Leaders have concentrated more on misusing the state resources for the personal benefits than improving country’s health and education situations. This has made people ask what all the sacrifices of the past two decades were for. If the politicians stopped demanding state money for the treatment, they are capable to afford, it would increase people’s trust on them.