Transfer of the CDOs, who were overseeing post-disaster response in the eight worst-affected districts, is politically motivated and will certainly hit relief and recovery work

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Home Affairs today transferred chief district officers of eight districts after they allegedly performed poorly in the last one and a half months while dealing with the worst situation in the aftermath of April 25 earthquake and its aftershocks.

According to MoHA, Krishna Prasad Gyawali of Sindhupalchowk has been transferred to Palpa while Koshari Niroula (Nuwakot), Uddav Prasad Bhattarai (Rasuwa), Prem Lal Lamichhane (Dolakha), Sambhu Prasad Marasini (Ramechhap), Bishnu Prasad Pokharel (Sindhuli), Ganesh Prasad Bhattarai (Okhaldhunga) and Anil Kumar Thakur (Bhaktapur) have been called back to Kathmandu to work under different departments and divisions of the ministry.

Transfer of the CDOs, who were overseeing post-disaster response in the eight worst-affected districts, will certainly hit the relief and recovery work, a MoHA source said, claiming that the ministry’s decision was motivated by political influence rather than performance evaluation.

“For instance, Gyawali, who was posted to Sindhupalchowk two months ago, has been accused of failing to coordinate with district-based political parties in carrying out relief and rescue work in the time of crisis,” a high-level official said adding that the district police chief also stood against him.

Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat put pressure on Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam to oust Nuwakot CDO Niroula at the earliest after he reportedly stood against Mahat’s personal secretary to foil unilateral distribution of corrugated zinc sheet in the devastated district bypassing DDRC, an under-secretary revealed.

Some CDOs have also been accused of delaying to furnish relief fund expenses details to MoHA, as they also chair the district disaster relief committees, solely responsible for overseeing post-disaster response, according to MoHA officials. The Prime Minister’s Relief Fund has already sought details of transaction of Rs 8 billion from MoHA, which has also sought Rs 5 billion more from PMRF to channelise it to quake-hit districts.

Ministry officials also claimed that it was not the right time to replace CDOs in earthquake-affected districts, saying such move would affect the ongoing relief and recovery work. “Political pressure has forced the minister to take this unfair and untimely decision that only demoralises civil servants,” a joint secretary added.

MoHA spokesperson Laxmi Prasad Dhakal also confirmed the transfer of 13 joint secretaries and 40 under secretaries who were working in different places in different capacities ranging from a CDO to the regional administrator under the ministry. “Eight CDOs of earthquake-affected districts have also been replaced,” he said, without sharing details behind MoHA move.

According to MoHA decision, Balbhadra Giri, Umesh Dhakal, Shivram Gelal, Basudev Dahal, Dipendra Lamichhane, Toyam Ray, Deepak Nepal and Yadav Subedi were assigned as new CDOs in Sindhupalchowk, Nuwakot, Rasuwa, Ramechhap, Dolakha, Bhaktapur, Sindhuli and Okhaldhunga, respectively.