Vacant posts in Delhi mission hit work

New Delhi, July 4:

Three key posts in the Nepalese embassy here are lying vacant for quite some time now.

The envoy’s post is vacant for a year, while that of the deputy chief of the

mission is vacant for two years. Since this week, the joint-secretary-level post of Economic Minister has also fallen vacant. Economic Minister Lalmani Joshi’s four-year tenure expired last week.

Acting envoy Tara Pokhrel said: “Nepal and India have innumerable joint public ventures in the economic, investment, border demarcation, water resources and other sectors.” He added that functioning effectively was proving difficult due to the vacant posts. Currently, there are only two gazetted officials, including Pokhrel, in the embassy.

There is a gazetted officer in the accounts section, an under-secretary-level officer in the administrative section and a military attache. The six other employees in the embassy are non-gazetted staff who cannot participate in bilateral discussions. The joint-secretary level post of DCAM in the diplomacy section is also lying vacant for the last two years. “Work has been affected due to this,” Pokhrel said.

For want of an envoy, the Nepal-India dialogue on critical bilateral issues is suffering, he added.

Pokhrel said that being only the acting envoy and holding an under-secretary level official post, it was difficult for him to approach high-ranking officials in the Indian Foreign Ministry or authorities concerned and take up urgent issues with them.

“So many bilateral meetings and issues need attention but all are moving at a snail’s pace for want of key officials.”

Outgoing Economic Minister Joshi said, “There is step-motherly treatment of the staff working in the foreign mission of the country. I was told to complete my tenure and worked here for four years. When my tenure expired, the government did not even send a letter recalling me to Nepal. I am returning of my own volition.”