KATHMANDU, Sept 13: Parallel management in Sajha Prakashan, the 105-year-old public publication house, has created problems in holding a meeting of the management board. The board meeting has been put on hold for more than a year due to various reasons.
Sajha Prakashan board has altogether seven members including the chairman, three elected members, and three nominated members.
While the post of chairman was lying vacant since the term of controversial Dolindra Sharma expired on July 27, the elected members of Sajha Prakashan include Bijaya Subba, Harihar Khanal, and Jeevan Chandra Koirala. The nominated members Pradip Nepal, Dinanath Sharma, and Dr. Krishna Hari Baral resigned more than a year ago following the controversy of irregularities in Sajha Prakashan.
After the resignation of the three board members, Mukti Subedi, DP Aryal, and Harihar Adhikari were appointed as board members in Sajha Prakashan during the tenure of then deputy prime minister and education minister Gopal Man Shrestha.
Despite having full board members except for the chairman, Cooperatives Minister Padma Kumari Aryal about a month ago appointed three more members at the expense of the nominated members. She also appointed a new chairman at the publication house which had courted controversy during the tenure of Sharma for multiple irregularities.
Raghu Ram Bista, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation, was appointed as chairman of Sajha while Ram Kumar Shrestha alias Ram Binaya, Gayatri Lamsal and Mohan Duwal were nominated as the board members.
However, the story took a new twist after Subedi and Aryal moved the Supreme Court, which on Monday ruled in favor of the plaintiffs for their reinstatement to their posts.
Three elected board members—Subba, Khanal, and Koirala – are in confusion about the board members.
"We haven't been able to hold board meeting because of parallel nominated members," said Subba. "It has put the Sajha Prakashan in a mess," he added.
After the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) did not show any interest to solve the problems of Sajha Prakashan, the officials of Sajha Prakashan knocked the doors of the Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation to seek a solution to the prevailing problems.
Education Minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel turned a deaf ear despite frequent visits and appeals to solve the problems of Sajha Prakashan, according to the officials at the publication. Then, they visited Cooperatives Minister Padma Kumari Aryal to sort out the problems but the problems got even worse.
A total of 128 staffers, who had received golden handshake and retirement from Sajha Prakashan at different times, were staging protests since July 17, demanding their gratuity and perks, which were not provided even after two years despite several commitments assured by Sharma. Sajha Prakashan requires about Rs 170 million to pay all the 128 staffers their gratuity and perks, according to Desar Rai, coordinator of the struggle committee on behalf of the retired staffers.