KATHMANDU, July 31: At a time when the Ministry of Education (MoE) has formed a panel to probe into the alleged irregularities at Sajha Prakashan, a seven-member team including three board members of the state-owned publishing house is visiting Japan from August 9 to 16 under the sponsorship of Sajha Prakashan.
The seven-member team includes Dolindra Prasad Sharma, chairperson and general manager (GM) of the Prakashan, board members and former ministers Pradeep Nepal and Dinanath Sharma, Radheshyam Lekali, Surendra Astafal (Surendra Prasad Paudel), and two ladies, according to sources. “GM Sharma, board members Nepal and Sharma, Lekali and Astafal have already been issued the visa. However, the names of two ladies are yet to be publicized as they are yet to receive the visa,” said the sources.
Lekali is the chairman of the International Nepali Literary Society (INLS), Nepal Chapter, while Astafal is a Chitwan-based teacher and poet. The team said to be sponsored by Sajha Prakashan is going to Japan to attend the launching of a poetry book, poem recitation and a book exhibition at RSR Court Hall (2-9-10), Ocubu Siajuku in Japan on August 12. Lekali said that he is going to Japan along with the Sajha team. “All delegation members will bear the cost of their travel on their own,” he claimed.
Though INLS has invited them to take part in the function, it will not bear the cost of their travel.
On the other hand, the Sajha Prakashan board has not decided anything about the Japan visit by the team. “The board has not taken an official decision on their visit,” said Bijaya Subba, one of the Sajha board members.
Prof Khagendra Luitel of the Nepali Department at Tribhuvan University, said that promoting Nepali literature abroad would certainly expand its horizons. “However, if Sajha Prakashan is the right body to do this is a matter of debate,” he said, “But given the controversy created by the alleged irregularities at Sajha, this visit is definitely irrelevant.”
GM Sharma and Nepal visited South Korea last year while GM Sharma along with his wife Sumitra Dangol Maharjan visited the United Kingdom last year. The Sajha board had approved their Korea visit after they returned from the UK trip.
GM Sharma had carried 9,000 copies of different books published by Sajha Prakashan to London. Each copy of many of the books was sold at 5 to 10 sterling pounds. However, Sharma has been accused of not submitting the income from the sale of those books to Sajha Prakashan.
Sajha Prakashan has seven board members. GM Sharma, Nepal, Sharma and Krishna Hari Baral are the nominated members while Bijaya Subba, Harihar Khanal and Jeevan Chandra Koirala are the elected members. The elected board members - Subba, Khanal and Koirala - have been protesting against the alleged irregularities at Sajha.
When contacted, Sajha board member Nepal said that he would not go to Japan for the function. “I had been asked to participate in the visit but I am not in a mood to go there after Sajha controversies came to the surface,” he said. GM Sharma and Dina Nath Sharma are brothers. Dinanath said that he has applied for the visa.
Repeated attempts by Republica to contact GM Sharma were in vain as he did not receive the phone calls.