Government preparing to transfer DG of DoTM
Kathmandu, May 17
In a twist to the ongoing anti-transport syndicate campaign that the government is running, the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) is preparing to transfer the Director General of Department of Transport Management (DoTM), Rupnarayan Bhattarai, who has been a persistent force in bringing the syndicate practice in the transportation sector to a rightful end.
A confidential source at MoPIT confirmed to The Himalayan Times that the MoPIT leadership is mulling to bring Bhattarai to the ministry itself on charges of not cooperating with the MoPIT leadership.
Meanwhile, DoTM Director General Bhattarai said that he has also heard about MoPIT preparing to make a decision to this effect. “However, I have neither been informed about such a decision nor received any official letter from MoPIT.”
Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Raghubir Mahaseth, however, did not respond to phone calls made by THT..
Meanwhile, MoPIT officials seem to be divided over the issue of transferring Bhattarai.
“There is no reason to transfer Bhattarai as his performance at DoTM has been good and he has played a major role in ending the transport syndicate system. This is not the right time to transfer him,” opined Madhusudan Adhikari, secretary at MoPIT, and confirmed that the MoPIT leadership has not officially decided to transfer Bhattarai till today evening.
However, Adhikari refused to comment when asked if MoPIT was planning to remove Bhattarai from his post at DoTM in the near future.
In coordination with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA), Bhattarai has adopted ‘zero tolerance' policy against syndicate system in the public transportation sector. As a result, transport entrepreneurs are not attending any meeting called by DoTM and are avoiding contact with him, as per Bhattarai.
Under the initiative and recommendation of DoTM, the Cabinet had decided to scrap all transport bodies (transport associations and transport committees) a month ago as they were not supporting the government's move to end transport syndicate and had been avoiding paying taxes worth billions of rupees.
It was Bhattarai's leadership at DoTM that opened new vehicle route permits that were controlled by transport bodies since many years.
Meanwhile, consumer rights activists have warned the government not to change the leadership of DoTM and urged it to focus on reforming the transportation sector.
“The government should facilitate DoTM leadership to completely end syndicate system in the transportation industry rather than making any transfers. Transferring any officials of DoTM in the present context is undesirable,” said Madhav Timalsina, president of Consumers' Right Investigation Forum (CRIF).