Staffers at Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Ltd (KUKL), Bhainsepati were found to be stealing and selling water to locals and housing apartments in and around Bhainsepati. This is not only illegal but a serious breach of trust placed upon public servants by the people. The case must be investigated by the concerned authorities and the guilty must be punished. KUKL is just one of countless cases of abuse of authority by those in the position of power. And it is the people who get shortchanged when public institutions fail to deliver on their stated role.
People in the three cities inside the Valley struggle to get water on their taps on a regular basis. If those with money and power can get water then it defeats the purpose of having public institutions to ensure equitable distribution of limited resources. Whether it is the residents in Bhainsepati or Jorpati, everyone deserves fair treatment from the state. Sadly, this is something we struggle to figure out as a country on a daily basis.
Very often our institutions meant to serve the people have been used as vehicle for those in position to enrich themselves and those around them. Such story has been repeated several times in several of our institutions. No matter which party comes to power, we see replays of such stories. And it must stop.
We cannot expect the government to deliver on its big promises of railways and mega hydro projects when it constantly struggles to manage basic necessities like decent roads and safe and clean drinking water. In the last seven plus months of the Oli government, none of the major projects have taken shape. We are still unsure about the way forward in Budhi Gandaki project and Nijgadh International Airport. It is time for the government to expedite these projects.
People’s mistrust in public institutions emanate from years of being cheated upon and being at the receiving end of horrible services, whether it is clean water or reliable power supplies. Many of our public institutions have to work hard to win hearts of the people. When the public servants are involved in stealing, they must be punished at the earliest so that others don’t choose the same route. Moreover, PM Oli keeps on parroting his government’s “zero tolerance” against corruption, but we rarely see that rhetoric turn into action. Mafia, syndicates and others have not stopped abusing access, authority and power to accumulate wealth at the expense of 28 plus million Nepalis. If we can serious about prosperity and development, corrupt practices must be rooted out. Let us start the cleansing effort by punishing the staffs involved in stealing water at KUKL’s Bhainsepati office.