KATHMANDU, Jan 26: The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), the regulatory body of the country's aviation sector, is running with an acting director general (DG).
After Director General Raj Kumar Chhetri retired on December 29 due to age limit, the government has given the responsibility of acting director general of CAAN to Prem Nath Thakur.
Hansraj Pandey, Prem Nath Thakur, Dev Chandra Lal Karn, Bhola Prasad Guragai and Pratap Babu Tiwari are eyeing the post of Director General but the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has not been able to appoint the Director General.
Chhetri, who retired as the director general of CAAN after being appointed only three months ago, has been instructed to remain in the responsibility of the director general until further notice by the interim order of the Supreme Court.
The government has given the responsibility of acting DG to Deputy Director General Thakur until further notice. Chhetri is awaiting a letter of appointment from the ministry after receiving a short-term court order.
Stating that the court order has not been complied with, he is preparing to proceed with the contempt case. Although the court summoned both the parties for a discussion on January 14, the court proceedings have been affected due to COVID-19, which has been affecting other regulations of air security.
Chhetri has submitted an application to the Supreme Court for a four-year term as per the CAAN Act and has been claiming that he should get a full term. He has claimed that he should get a full term as per the provision of four years for the post of Director General.
As the threat to air safety is increasing due to keeping the regulatory body stalled for a long time, the discussion has started that even if a competent person can be appointed to run the authority, the politics of money has been visible.
CAAN is struggling as COVID-19 has affected the global aviation sector. Only when competent leadership is selected at such a time will it have a positive impact on this sector. However, sources claim that CAAN is trying to give priority to juniors as a lot of money is being spent on the appointments.
The former directors general are of the view that a person who can make the CAAN strong, capable and strong to regulate air services in an effective and transparent manner and address the international concerns related to aviation security by increasing the efficiency of manpower within the CAAN should be appointed.
Now, after Chhetri is in the race for the post of Director General, Tiwari has been making his claim. If Tiwari becomes the director general, he will remain in the leadership for the entire term. Meanwhile, Bhola Prasad Guragai, who is going to retire due to age limit on February 28, has been claiming to be the general manager. According to sources, Pradip Adhikari has also been lobbying for the post.