DHANGADHI, Aug 20: At a time when the hefty taxes imposed by the federal units are being criticized by various quarters, it has been revealed that the taxpayers' money is being used to appease political cadres.
In Dhangadhi district, the elected local representatives have formed groups and organizations consisting of their close acquaintances and cadres of their political parties. The tax money is made available to such groups in the name of skill development training, capacity development, trust fund and other subheads.
They have allocated amounts ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 500,000 to majority of the subheads. The amount misused this way could amount up to Rs 10 million.
“We have been paying additional taxes since the new federal structure came into existence. They are collecting hefty taxes from us and spending it to make their cadres and relatives happy,” said Dev Bahadur Bohora, a local. “This practice should be brought to an end immediately.”
According to the data maintained by Dhangadhi Sub-metropolis, they spent Rs 10.8 million in the last fiscal year on subheadings such as skill development and capacity building. Locals said such expenditures have yielded no achievement.
An employee of the sub-metropolis, requesting anonymity, confirmed the dire situation. “The achievements are mentioned in papers and reports. But in reality, we have achieved nothing as the money was spent to appease their cadres and vote banks.”
Those listed for training offered by the sub-metropolis are also five-year-old and school-going children. Groups and institutes taking budget from the sub-metropolis usually enroll people who are somehow connected to the elected representatives and have ties with them.
Twenty-five children of 5 to 10 years of age were given training in 'nutrition'. On the other hand, school children were given training on journalism and account keeping. Most of these trainings are conducted by organizations and institutes close to the local representatives.
“Such programs are just conducted on paper. The institutes and groups collect signatures of people and mention such programs were successfully conducted in the report,” another youth said.
Civil society member Janakraj Pandey said the funds are distributed with only intention of distributing it among party cadres rather than for results. “Likewise, the public attends such so-called skill training program not with intention to learn, but to be eligible for different allowances,” he added.
Another employee of the sub-metropolis admitted that training and other similar programs are organized with the intention of spending the budget and making vote banks happy.
Santa Bahadur Sunar, chief administration officer of the sub-metropolis, admitted that training programs are not being effective in terms of achievements despite spending lots of money on it.Not just Dhangadhi sub-metropolis, many other municipalities and rural municipalities are distributing taxpayers' money to close relatives and cadres in the name of training, trust fund, tourism promotion and capacity development.“Everyone welcomed the local elections held after a hiatus of 20 years. But such behaviors from the elected representatives show that corruption and financial irregularities are increasing,” said Krishna Bahadur Mahara, a local entrepreneur.