July 5, 2018 02:00 AM NPT
Syndicated loot continues
We report and write about massive unnatural capital spending in the last month of our fiscal year. The phenomenon that has come to be known as Asare Bikas has become synonym to misuse of tax payers’ money in the name of development. Daily capital expenditure in the month of Asar (mid June to mid-July) shoots up by more than 100 percent. What a miracle! In the last 11 months, average daily capital expenditure was around 500 million rupees, and this number has doubled in the last 19 days. It appears that no matter which government comes into power, the fundamental nature of our development is not going to change.
Roads in Kathmandu are clogged, and highways have been obstructed across the country. Some of our newly-built highways were designed and built without carrying out proper geological studies. New structures are being built haphazardly and local governments are digging roads on their own, without expert consultation. All these go against the slogan of Prime Minister K P Oli’s “prosperous Nepal, happy Nepali.” People are struggling to get basic services while those in power are enjoying state perks and services like never before. People across the country are now asking if this is the kind of “socialism” that our constitution envisioned. The rapid pace of development works in the final month of fiscal year is a symptom of a much greater problem within our governing system. Everyone, including the ministers and secretaries, is part of this scam where contractors hastily “finish” their projects before the last day of Asar and get paid. The people involved in decision-making chain of the government obviously benefit from this kind of payments as they also receive a cut. And this has been going on for decades. Not a single government in our recent memory has been able to destroy this syndicate, partly because everyone in power is benefitting from this corrupt system.
The road from Chabhil Chowk to Hyatt Hotel was blacktopped on the eve of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Nepal in May, while the stretch from the hotel to Sankhu has been waiting to be blacktopped for years. That road resembles a field ready for paddy plantation. How is it that the small stretch of the road could be blacktopped overnight and the rest is left as it is? Why aren’t the concerned authorities, including the office of the prime minister, speaking out? We can only hope that the prime minister is aware of all these happenings. People across the country cheered in his victory in the federal election in the hopes of fundamental changes in the way country is governed and the way our basic infrastructure works are carried out. However, the signs have not been very encouraging. People want change. People want things to be done. People want roads built. People want to see the system that we have out in place work. We urge the government to listen to the people who catapulted the leaders to power. We want the Prime Minister to put stop to this Asare Bikas which has become the breeding ground of corruption.