NSU VC didn’t get leave approval: Govt

Kathmandu, July 8

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has stated that Nepal Sanskrit University Vice-chancellor Kul Prasad Koirala, who was barred from boarding a flight to Canada at Tribhuvan International Airport yesterday, never got his leave approved from joint chancellor (education minister) or the chancellor (prime minister).

The police detained Koirala from TIA yesterday while he was about to board a flight to Canada to participate in the World Sanskrit Conference slated for July 9 to 13. The police then took him to the prime minister’s official residence, saying PM KP Sharma wanted to meet him.

After waiting for around an hour at Baluwatar, Koirala, who was appointed to the post in August 2015 by the Sushil Koirala-led government, was told the PM could not meet him due to his busy schedule. By then, the flight had already taken off.

Education Secretary Khag Raj Baral told THT that although they had received Koirala’s application seeking permission to travel abroad, they did not forward it to the minister for lack of relevant documents.

When asked whether the secretariat tried to contact Koirala after finding that necessary documents were missing, Baral did not comment.

Koirala, on the other hand, said although he did not receive any formal or informal communication about the lacking documents, he had frequently mobilised his staff to follow-up with the ministry on the issue.

Koirala had come to Kathmandu from his Dang office just a few days ago to travel to Canada.

“I don’t believe the claim that documents were incomplete as I have visited many countries before with a single application. This is a deliberate action taken by the prime minister against me,” he said, claiming that both PM Oli and Education Minister Giri Raj Mani Pokhrel had received the application.

Koirala said he had applied for leave one week in advance, while the University Act provisions a vice-chancellor to inform the joint chancellor or chancellor five days before proceeding on leave.

Koirala added that the government had shut the university’s contact office in Kathmandu a month ago. “The government seems to be acting with a malicious intent. First, they shut the contact office without seeking our opinion and now they want to control us.”

Koirala was scheduled to chair the closing ceremony of the conference and deliver a closing speech, where delegates from 111 countries would be participating. The university is also planning to propose to let Nepal host the World Sanskrit Conference in 2024.