GM under scanner as RDL plans to trim its flab

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 29:

The Royal Drugs Ltd (RDL) is currently under the scanner, with a four-member committee looking into allegations of arbitrary functioning against RDL’s current general manager. This scrutiny coincides with a plan to lay off excess workforce. Insiders have pointed fingers at GM Rajani Shrestha for allegedly working in “her own inimitable style and scotching all good.” She, however, insists that she was determined to run the show and bail out the company.

Since the board, which last met on March 21, was not satisfied with the way Shrestha was going about her job, it formed a probe team to look into the contract which involved RDL supplying Navajivan to Nepal CRS Company. While the report is expected sooner or later, lower management staff are lamenting policies which “cannot be expected to take the company anywhere.”

The team, which is probing the company’s functioning, is represented by officials of the Ministries of Industry and Commerce (MOI&C), Finance (MOF), Health and Population (MOH&P) and an RDL official. Shrestha attributed her decision to supply Navajivan at the Rs 2.50 price agreed on, saying that the “the government undertaking must not be profit-oriented.” Insiders are questioning the way the RDL has been left to work for others. When asked as to why had the RDL had to turn out the product for others rather than manfucturing and marketing the product itself, she attributed the decision to poor finances which rules out company procuring the desired raw materials. She said that making products and marketing required operating cash “which was not available.” “They (Nepal CRS) are paying us in advance. Things are so bad, we are having to run the company on finances thus generated,” said Shrestha. She is career civil servant who was transferred to RDL when the CPN-UML’s Iswar Pokharel was MOI&C minister.

She also said that the company has poor record of loan repayment, “which explains why the loan outstanding is currently at just over Rs 80 million.” The latest is that Shrestha has nearly stopped procurement, citing “poor work culture and lack of marketing strategy.” Laying off a large chunk of 512 staff, with 281 cited as the ideal strength for the company, is being pointed

out as the remedy. While RDL had registered and produced as many as 179 brands of medicine, the same was brought down to 30, before production closed down 20 days back. Meanwhile, the notice issuing a call to RDL workers to apply under Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) has already been rushed to the Gorkhapatra daily and the government has also agreed to loan Rs 110 million to provide the money needed voluntary retirement bill.