Bureaucrats’, ministers’ foreign junkets top Cabinet agenda

Kathmandu, October 24

At a time when the government is focusing on holding provincial and parliamentary polls, the top bureaucrats and ministers appear to be giving priority to visiting foreign countries rather than focusing on issues that concern the general public.

In fact, in the three meetings of the Cabinet that were held last fortnight,  25 out of 78 agenda were about bureaucrats’ and ministers’ foreign visits; 10 out of the 26 agenda that the Cabinet discussed on Monday were related to foreign visits; on October 9, the Cabinet discussed 44 agenda, out of which 13 had to do with foreign visits; on October 13, there were  two agenda related to foreign visits among eight.

Continuing the trend, a delegation of seven top bureaucrats embarked on a trip to Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand today. They are Revenue Secretary Shishir Kumar Dhungana, Commerce Secretary Chandra Kumar Ghimire, Joint Secretary of Finance Ministry Sushil Pandey and four officials of Customs Department, including Director General Ramsharan Chimoriya, Deputy Director Shree Krishna Nepal, Director Mukti Pande, Director Nitu Bharati and Engineer Ramhari Regmi.  Finance ministry states the objective of the visit is to understand and observe single window and coordinate border management system for customs services. The estimated cost of this tour is $46,077, including transportation, accommodation and per diem.

Secretary of MoPIT Debendra Karki, Director General of Road Department Gopal Prasad Sigdel, deputy directors general of Road Department Saroj Kumar Pradhan and Sanjay Kumar Shrestha, Joint Secretary of MoPIT Dhrubraj Joshi and Mid-Hill Highway Project Director Surya Bahadur Bhat and Senior Divisional Engineer Tekraj Bohora visited Japan from October 11 to 18. The visit was organised and sponsored by the Japanese company - Nippon Koei Co Ltd Jv.

Even ministers don’t miss an opportunity to be on foreign shores. Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Bir Bahadur Balayar is in Hong Kong to participate in the 27th conference of the International Railway Safety Council that began on Sunday.

A minister told THT that the PM okayed the foreign visits of ministers and bureaucrats without any discussion.