Crisis looms in Tarai govt offices

Employees take French-leave fearing action by JTMM-J

Siraha, July 26:

Scores of government employees, including district judges, senior officials and those of hilly origin, have moved out of districts they had been posted in the Tarai.

They are panic-stricken due to the growing insecurity and threats from different groups waging armed rebellion in the Tarai districts, including Siraha, Sarlahi and Saptari. They had started feeling more insecure after the recent murder of Targena Govindpur village development committee secretary Ram Hari Pokhrel.

Twenty-six employees of the Siraha district court, including judges Sahdev Prasad Bastola and Bhupendra Rai, left for their homes last week, court sources said.

Siraha District Local Development Officer Kedar Nath Sharma and others have not attended offices since the past one week.

Nine employees of the land revenue office along with office chief Bishnu Prasad Ghimire have also not turned up at their offices since a week and work is at a standstill, sources said.

Officials including chiefs of the District Survey Office, Siraha Election Office, Lahan Zonal Transport Office, Area Post Office, Lahan Internal Revenue Office, Inland Waterways Management Office, Small Scale and Cottage Industries, Janakpur Cigarette Factory and staff nurses at the Siraha District Health Post Sabitri Dewan, Durga Mainali, Rima Pokhrel, Anami Shobha Rai among others have not being going to their offices.

Seven officials, including those of the district education office, three of the Nepal Electricity Authority and some employees of the Rural Development Bank, including deputy superintendent Diwakar Gautam, also have left the district.

Siraha Chief District Officer Bal Krishna Panthi said the employees left the district without informing the authorities due to the seven-day ultimatum given by the Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha-Jwala Singh, to either leave the region or face its wrath.

Panthi said the government would provide security to the employees. District leaders of the eight political in a joint statement appealed to the government employees to resume work.

In Sarlahi, district judges Chandi Raj Dhakal, Bhoj Raj Pokhrel and Sita Prasad Pokhrel are on leave and several other court officials have left the district.

Sarlahi Chief District Officer Sita Ram Pokhrel said the employees were absent not because of insecurity but they had no work to do.

In Rajbiraj, the eight-party district leaders, the administration, human rights groups and employees’ associations reached an agreement yesterday to resume work. However, half of the staff were absent today, said an officer at the District Public Health Officer, Jagdish Jha.

Saptari CDO Him Nath Dawadi told this daily that the administration was capable of providing security to the employees and urged them to resume work.

In Itahari, Nepal Nijamati Workers’ Union secretary Mohan Subedi said some 700 government employees resumed duties today. However, 49 VDC secretaries, who have been staging protests, did not resume work.