No consensus on secys yet

Kathmandu, August 25:

The ministerial group headed by Minister for General Administration Ram Chandra Yadav failed to meet today, thus delaying the selection and appointment of secretaries by one more day.

The meeting was scheduled to take place in the morning, but did not materialise owing to the inability of Minister for Education Pradeep Nepal to attend the meeting on health ground.

Although the latter is not a member of the Administrative Committee, he has been attending the meeting along with Peace and Reconstruction Minister Ram Chandra Paudel and Minister for Information and Communication Krishna Bahadur Mahara as a “senior minister.”

“We were supposed to meet today. But all of a sudden, it did not happen. Minister Nepal did not feel well and thus was rushed for treatment,” said Minister for General Administration and CPN-UML representative in the cabinet, Ram Chandra Yadav.

The panel, which has been meeting repeatedly since Wednesday, has not been able to submit the names of 27 senior bureaucrats owing to what has been identified as “intense” lobbying from powerful quarters, rendering the task of restricting the final list.

However, as Minister for Labour and Transport Management Ramesh Lekhak, who is also a member of the Administrative Committee, said: “What is more or less a certainty is 16 senior bureaucrats who are serving as acting secretaries are in for full-time appointment.”

This leaves 65 senior bureaucrats sweating it out for 11 slots, something which truly sheds light on the “stampede” given the level of influence-peddling evident currently.

It is also learned that the ministerial group has been successful in picking up seven more secretaries, taking the total to 23. Meanwhile, given the intense lobbying from all powerful quarters, the last four slots are becoming increasingly prized and thus literally stalling the selection also.

The Election Commission (EC) is waiting for the government to make necessary appointments before it enforces the electoral code of conduct. While the general rule is to enforce it 90 days in advance, the governing law, however, says that the “EC can enforce it at any time” once it gets a nod from the government.

“I am sure people know appointments are more important than anything else,” said Minister Yadav when asked whether delay in making appointments is affecting enforcement of the code of conduct.