Lawmakers seek govt reply on Gokarna resort, Kalapani

Kathmandu, December 23

National Assembly lawmakers representing both the ruling and opposition parties today sought the government’s clarification on issues related to the government leasing out Gokarna Forest Resort and a land plot at Durbarmarg to Yeti Group and the Nepal-India border issue at Kalapani.

Speaking during special hour, Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Chief Whip Khim Lal Bhattarai said issues related to the government awarding Nepal Trust’s property — Gokarna Forest Resort and a land plot at Durbarmarg — to a business house had become controversial issues.

“Therefore, it is the government’s responsibility to clarify,” said Bhattarai. “I demand that the government inform the House regarding the matter.”

Nepali Congress Lawmaker Radheshyam Adhikari said the particular business house was so powerful that it was able to force the government to amend the act related to Nepal Trust to ensure that the property was handed over to it.

Before the amendment, the act did not allow leasing out Nepal Trust property for business purpose with the exception of health and education purposes, according to Adhikari. Stating that a land plot of one ropani 14 anna at Durbarmarg was awarded to the same business house before the amendment, Adhikari alleged that the amendment was done to make that illegal deal legal.

“When the line between government and business is erased, corruption flourishes,” said Adhikari. “The prime minister’s statement that he would not be involved in corruption and he would not allow others to be involved in corruption has become a laughing stock.”

According to Adhikari, discourse that both PM KP Sharma Oli and Deputy PM Ishwor Pokhrel are involved in corruption is gaining traction and it is not good for the country.

He said despite wide reportage on the issue, the government had neither objected to it, nor had it tried to assure the people on the issue.

“The PMO has not refuted the news that a person related to the business house was appointed trustee of Nepal Trust,” he said, questioning how the government could appoint that particular person as Nepal Trust trustee in conflict of interest.

Adhikari questioned the government’s motive behind renewing the lease deal with that particular business house even as the old deal still had six years to expire.

“Why so much haste even as this government’s tenure ends in less than three years,” Adhikari questioned.

Adhikari said the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority had become a casual bystander because it knew top political leadership was involved.

Socialist Party-Nepal Lawmaker Ram Prit Paswan questioned whether scandals related to Gokarna Forest Resort and Durbarmarg land plot were the prosperity the government wanted to usher in the country.

On the Kalapani issue, NC Lawmaker Badri Prasad Pandey asked why PM Oli, who spoke so strongly against the blockade, was mum on the Kalapani issue, which was even more sensitive.

He was referring to a political map released by India on November 1 that depicted the Kalapani region, including Limpiyadhura, Lipulek and Kalapani, as Indian territory.

Stating that even after the main opposition NC extended its full support to the government to hold diplomatic and political dialogue with India to resolve the issue, the government did not take substantial initiative.

“The PM should furnish an answer to the House why he’s not been able to hold political-level talks with India,” said Pandey stating that Nepal had enough historical evidences that proved the Kalapani region was Nepali territory.

NCP Lawmaker Chakra Prasad Snehi also said the government should take necessary diplomatic measures to resolve issues of encroachment of Nepali territory not only at Kalapani but also in different parts of the country.