Man who crushed transport syndicate transferred
Kathmandu, May 18
American dramatist Clare Boothe Luce said ‘no good deed goes unpunished’, and with the transfer of the director general of the Department of Transport Management the government has proved her right.
The government’s plan to transfer DoTM DG Rupnarayan Bhattarai had been termed ‘unwarranted’ by several quarters, as he was the persistent force that brought the syndicate system in the transportation sector to a rightful end.
Bhattarai told THT today that he received a letter from the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport regarding the transfer order.
The letter states that Bhattarai is being transferred to MoPIT to handle ‘special responsibility’.
“It is the right of the government to transfer bureaucrats. However, transferring someone without determining their responsibility and despite the fact that there is no vacant post at the ministry, is not justifiable,” said Bhattarai.
Sources privy to the matter told THT that Transport Minister Raghubir Mahaseth had ordered Bhatatrai’s transfer.
When approached today, Mahaseth refused to comment on Bhattarai’s transfer, saying he was ‘busy’ and instead directed THT to MoPIT secretary.
MoPIT Secretary Madhusudan Adhikari said this was not the right time to transfer Bhattarai, as his performance at DoTM was commendable. He was instrumental in curbing syndicate system in public transportation sector, he added. “Bhattarai’s transfer is official though the government is yet to appoint a new DoTM DG,” said Adhikari.
Adhikari’s comment brings to fore the rift between MoPIT leadership and its bureaucrats on Bhattarai’s transfer. It also hints that MoPIT leadership and bureaucrats are divided over scrapping syndicate system in the transportation industry.
Under the initiative of Bhattarai, the government had adopted ‘zero tolerance’ policy against syndicate system in the public transportation sector by scrapping all transport associations and committees.
It was under Bhattarai’s leadership that DoTM opened new vehicle route permits that had been controlled by transport bodies for many years.
Meanwhile, consumer rights activists have condemned the government’s move to transfer Bhattarai.
“Abruptly transferring a bureaucrat who is trying to implement the rule of law and whose performance has not been questionable is undesirable. Bhattarai’s transfer hints that the government itself is trying to back the syndicate system in the transportation industry,” said Prem Lal Maharjan, president of National Consumers Forum.