Bandh hits work at DoTM office

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, May 18:

The Maoist-called bandh hampered day-to-day works of the government. One such example where the work came to a grinding halt was the Department of Transport Management (DoTM). Though many people had poured in at the DoTM office at Ekantakuna to get their works done, they had to return empty-handed because the office was not adequately staffed.

The staffers chose to stay at home because they had been warned by the Maoists not to attend the office. Even the special security arrangement could not encourage the government staffers to attend the office. Lower turnout was not the only problem dogging the DoTM, however.

While the driving licence distribution department had fewer staffers as compared to other days, staffers at the form distribution division could not serve the people due to shortage of forms. Dozens of people, who had come to the DoTM office, had to return empty-handed.

An officer, who is second in charge of the Ekantakuna office, scolded those who had been to office chief Deepak Subedi’s room to inquire why some divisions of the department were not functioning. “I won’t talk to you, you do whatever you can. Our staffers could not come today so come after bandh, that’s all,” he said.

In the wake of Maoist threat, office chief Subedi had gone to meet the chief district officer and seek security of his staffers. Replying to a query, director-general of the DoTM, Shankar Prasad Dhungana, said, “We are not closed during the bandh.” When asked about lower turnout of staffers at the driving licence division, Dhungana said, “I have received information about it, but the DoTM has not granted them official leave. I have directed office chief Subedi to consult with the CDO and ask for security even from the Army.”

Even though many staffers were absent, a police vehicle with a unit of armed forces guarded the DoTM office throughout the day. A furious Sanjaya Gupta said, “These government officials should agree that they have lent moral support to the bandh. Otherwise, what is this?” For Gupta’s relief, DoTM staffer Nawaraj Acharya wrote a note to the non-gazetted officer of the licence distribution division, Jagadish Aryal, asking him to give Gupta first priority once he comes to renew his licence. Similarly, a person, who had come to the DoTM office all the way from Baneshwor to receive his driving licence, also could not get his job done. “I came here yesterday, but they denied to issue the driving licence to me, saying the given date is today. When I said that I may not be able to come to the office on bandh day, they said it was my problem. “I walked all the way from Baneshwor and there is no staffer here. What a shame?” Meanwhile, speculating lower turnout, the DoTM has postponed all the driving licence tests during the bandh days.