KATHMANDU: Following the directive of the Ministry of Home Affairs ministers, secretaries and other staff of the Singha Durbar reached their offices before 7 am, as the UCPN-Maoist had announced to gherao the seat of the government.
Energy minister Prakash Saran Mahat, irrigation minister Bal Krishna Khand, forest minister Deepak Bohara, land reforms and management minister Dambar Shrestha and finance minister Surendra Pandey were among the early birds.
In fact, Dambar Shrestha was there at 6:30 am. He told this correspondent that he had no qualms about working that early.
“I work for the people. UCPN-Maoist is mocking the civilian supremacy by harassing the general public,” Shreshta added.
Mahat said he was there to finish the pending official work. Bohara said by arriving early they wanted to give the message that Maoist stir would not
affect the government
functioning.
Since the home ministry had directed the secretaries to reach office at 5 am, Home Secretary Govinda Kusum was among the
first to arrive. Others too were there at the appointed hour.
However, few ministers attended offices despite the home ministry directives. Conspicuous by his absence was home minister Bhim Rawal, who had issued the directive.
But the chiefs of three security agencies — Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and National Investigation Department — reached home ministry before 7 am.
Home Secretary Kusum and chiefs of security agencies kept themselves busy with meetings.
Though the civil servants too reached the office before 8 am, their strength was far less than on the normal working days. However, despite staff absence, almost all ministries were open.
Security was tight
inside the Singha Durbar. Even Nepali Army was deployed to back Nepal Police and APF.
Staff strength was negligible even at the Supreme Court. Neither judges nor lawyers attended offices. Since the Maoists had blocked the Ramshah Path stretch leading to Singha Durbar, the clients too could not enter the SC premises.
No case was heard today, revealed SC Assistant Spokesperson Hemanta Rawal.
Acting Chief Justice Anup Raj Sharma had to return home from Padmodaya High School on the advice of security personnel.
Last time when no case was heard at the SC on a working day was in 2005 when all cases were put off due to the curfew imposed by the government led-by the then king Gyanendra.
More than 550 staffers daily report for work in the Supreme Court, Judicial Council, Office of the Attorney General and the Nepal Bar Association, apart from the 500-odd lawyers. Up to 1,000 court users visit the apex court every day.
But today less than 20 staffers present. They too returned without doing anything significant.
Hearing could not take place even in the Kathmandu District Court, though most of the judges attended offices avoiding the
blockade.