Opposition likens ministers to horses sans reins

Dhangadi, January 20

Opposition leaders in Sudurpaschim Province have demanded fair investigation into alleged irregularities while purchasing emergency vehicles.

Speaking at a Provincial Assembly meeting today, Nepali Congress parliamentary party leader Rana Bahadur Rawal criticised the ‘random’ ways of a few ministries and said, “There are a few ministers who are acting like horses without reins, which is unfortunate and the chief minister doesn’t do anything to bring them under control.”

“As the purchase of ambulances by Social Development Ministry has come under controversy, the government must launch a fair investigation and punish the guilty, if any,” he added, calling the provincial government a failure.

Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal whip Malamati Rana also came down heavily on the government, accusing it of wallowing in corruption. “No one seems to be acting with discretion. As the weaknesses and mistakes of the ministers and others become public, the chief minister keeps mum while the image of the government is tarnished,” he said.

Last fiscal, Social Development Ministry in the province had purchased 16 ambulances. The vehicles, claimed to be state-of-the-art, turned out to be a phased out model. The 407 model vehicle produced by TATA company in the year 2014 are no longer in use as the company has stopped its production and distribution.

Interestingly, the ministry had appropriated these phased-out vehicles as ambulances and distributed them to different local bodies and hospitals.

The vehicle costs some Rs 1.885 million inclusive of VAT as per the current market price. But as VAT does not apply to ambulances, they can’t have cost beyond Rs 800,000, say experts.

But the finding has it that the ministry had purchased these vehicles supposed to cost 800,000 rupees per unit for as much as 3.907 million rupees per vehicle, which adds up to 63.520 million rupees for 16 vehicles.