Sajha Prakashan gives 15-day ultimatum

Kathmandu, June 4

The century-old publishing house Sajha Prakashan today gave a 15-day ultimatum to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli to address its current financial crisis, which if not solved, the organisation would be forced to sell its property to pay its employees’ salaries and other benefits.

A meeting of Sajha Prakashan Management Committee on June 8 decided to appeal to the PM with various alternatives for solving the problem.

In a letter presented to the PM today, Sajha Prakashan has put forth three possible course of actions.

The first option is to allow the publishing house to continue distributing community school textbooks and its other works as it has in the past, and either providing a bail-out grant of Rs 300 million to clear its debts, or a subsidised loan of Rs 400 million.

The second option was for the government to take the responsibility of Sajha’s employees, debts, properties and overall management. The third option offered was to downsize the organisation, lay off its employees, and clear its debts by evaluating its liquid and fixed assets.

General Manager and Chairperson of SPMC Dolindra Prasad Sharma said, “In a formal letter sent to PM today, we have clearly said that if the government failed to ensure implementation of the given options, we would be compelled to opt for the third option to save this publication house.”

“The PM, ministers, and leaders from various political parties have expressed the need to save Sajha by providing it financial support, but no concrete action has been taken so far,” he added.

Sharma informed that the organisation has a bank loan of Rs 80 million. “With a monthly expense of Rs 7.2 million, the organisation needs around Rs 400 million to provide salary and other perks to its employees,” he said.

Currently, the publishing house has 194 employees with most of them drawing salary equivalent to first class, second class, and third class officers of the government.

The organisation has called such employees for voluntary retirement today as per its Sajha Prakashan Employees Administration Regulation-2073 amendment in order to cut costs by reducing the number of employees.

“We have issued a notice today calling interested employees to apply for voluntary retirement within seven days,” he said, adding, “If the employees who complete 20 years of service on June 14 tender their resignation, they will be given three months’ salary and other perks.

However, if the employees do not tender their resignation, they may be laid off at any point in time without any facilities.”

Sharma added that the organisation only needs 35 young staffers, such as salespersons, for its daily activities.