Kathmandu, January 21
Bangladesh-born British writer and novelist Monica Ali once said, “A new car is not going to change your life.” Most of us will agree with her, but not the chiefs of parliamentary panels.
The government’s decision to distribute only a limited number of new vehicles among chairpersons of parliamentary committees has not gone down well with the panel chiefs, with most of them desiring a new vehicle.
The government has decided to allocate funds that are enough only to purchase six vehicles, but there are 16 thematic committees in the Federal Parliament —10 in the House of Representatives, four in the National Assembly and two joint committees.
Although all panel chiefs have already been provided a vehicle each, they are keen to ride new ones, claiming that the ones they have are in bad shape.
In their meeting with House of Representatives Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara and Deputy Speaker Shiva Maya Tumbahamphe yesterday, most of the panel chiefs complained that they were having a hard time maintaining old vehicles, affecting their duties.
Earlier, a meeting of the Parliament’s management committee chaired by Mahara had requested the Ministry of Finance to allocate funds to buy 16 new vehicles for chiefs of House panels. But the ministry allocated only Rs 30 million, enough to purchase six vehicles, according to a source. The Parliament Secretariat plans to procure six new vehicles this fiscal.
In yesterday’s meeting, chiefs of House panels said all of them should be provided with new vehicles and none of them was willing to wait, the source told THT.
Deputy Speaker Tumbahamphe said most chairpersons were riding old vehicles, but had been managing somehow.
Mahara tried to drive home the point that the Parliament had limited resources, saying that chiefs of all panels would get new vehicles sooner or later. “We’ll decide who gets new vehicles in the first phase after assessing all existing vehicles,” the source quoted Mahara as saying. “Rest will get new vehicles once they are procured next year,” added Mahara, leaving some to wonder whether he really meant it or was taking them for a ride.
A version of this article appears in print on January 22, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.