Instances of financial irregularities go unabated in Pashupati property

Published On: July 9, 2023 07:20 PM NPT By: Dilip Paudel

Sum of Rs 10.5 million allocated without competitive bid as per the plan of Minister and Member Secretary

KATHMANDU, July 9: The occurrences of financial irregularities at the Pashupatinath Temple, a Hindu heritage site, are continuously on the rise. Minister for Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, Sudan Kirati, has allocated work worth around Rs 10.5 million without calling for a competitive bid in order to benefit his cadres before the issue of validating the encroachment of 31 acres of land belonging to the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) could settled.

A budget allocation of Rs 10.5 million has been made to carry out work on non-competitive bid in agreement between Minister Kirati, who is also the Chairperson of PADT, and the Member Secretary of PADT Milan Kumar Thapa. There is a practice of carrying out work without calling for competition during an ‘emergency’. But in Pashupati, works without competitive-bid have been initiated on the instructions of Minister Kirati and the proposal of Member Secretary Thapa.

Member Secretary Thapa has sent a written proposal to the members of PADT saying that it is necessary to arrange the budget as various works have been put without competitive-bid in the meeting called on Sunday. In the proposal signed by Member Secretary Thapa and sent to members of PADT, it is mentioned the proposal has been submitted that work has been entrusted without competitive bid for various tasks such as planting trees, building a garden, putting up perimeter walls including tree-guards for plant protection, building tree-sheds, cleaning, hoisting of the national flag of Nepal, on the Pashupatinath Temple premises.

Minister Kirati has initiated assigning work to individuals of his choice in the name of beautifying the Pashupati area, by breaching the Public Procurement Act. Minister Kirati and Secretary Thapa have a plan to approve the expenditure of funds by passing a proposal during Monday's meeting, with one week left for the end of the current fiscal year 2022/23. According to Thapa's proposal, some works have been completed and some are planned.

It is necessary to plant flowers to make the Pashupati area clean and beautiful, but as the budget for this work is insufficient, it has been suggested to arrange the budget immediately. In consultation with Minister Kirati, the Member Secretary proposed the agenda for the meeting. The meeting chaired by Minister Kirati is sure to pass all the agenda. Minister Kirati has removed three members of the PADT who disagreed with his agenda. Bishwa Kiran Jain, Purna Bahadur Jethar and Devi Baral who disagreed with Kirati's proposals and decisions were removed from the Trust.

In response to the query of Republica about the plan to submit the proposal of allocating work without competitive bids during the meeting on Sunday, Member Secretary Thapa mentioned that it is possible to carry out minor tasks without calling for a competitive bid during an emergency.

Similarly, although it was decided not to build any structures with foreign assistance in the core area of Pashupati, the proposal to rebuild the Bajraghar with the help of India at a cost of around Rs 160 million will also be put in the meeting. Kirati has not taken any action against those involved in the case of stealing Pashupati’s Ghyampo (donation box). Minister Kirati also came into controversy when he sold the land located in Gothatar of Kageshwari Manohara municipality, although it was revealed that out of 535 ropanis 3 anna of land in the name of PADT, 31 ropani were encroached upon, without conducting investigation. Minister Kirati faced criticism after making a decision to reclaim the encroached land.


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