EDITORIAL: Service counts

If any minister could get the government servants to discharge their duties honestly and efficiently, results would start to become visible soon

The Minister for Home Affairs Janardan Sharma has come up with a Home Administration Reform Roadmap which, according to him, would ensure that the home administration is accountable.

He has made a 84-point roadmap which looks good on paper only, for it would be very difficult to implement taking into account how inefficiently the government mechanism is working on an ad hoc basis.

With every change of government and minister they come up with new roadmaps with tall promises but they function at a lethargic pace failing to reach the objectives. Under the circumstances, a new government fails to continue the good work envisaged by the previous ones but merely put forth new schemes which are not achieved and realistic.

Looking at past performances of our ministries and the way they are run, it looks doubtful that the present home ministry will remove the anomalies that existed under previous home ministers. Indeed there are several positive schemes such as the provision for doing away with the 15 percent commission that traffic police get from the fines paid by the motorists.

This is being discontinued and instead the traffic police would be given extra allowances. Furthermore, the duty hours of the police personnel are set so that they would not have to work exceeding the time during normal situations. There would also be arrangements for the healthcare of the traffic police given the nature of their job.

The prevailing disparities would be done away with the ration provided and facilities to security personnel.

There is an urgent need to improve the traffic management of the capital city including the installation of traffic lights which are no longer working. CCTV cameras and marking of the zebra crossings should be in place wherever they are necessary.

Moreover, the home administration is to be restructured as per the federal structure within five months. Other areas seen to need immediate reforms would be narcotic drug control, modernization of immigration system, prison reforms and issuance of ID cards, among others.  Problems persist in other government ministries as well, and not only in the Home Ministry known for factionalism, lobbying and activities done to serve only personal interests.

The Home Ministry should take up its responsibilities such as initiating programmes to control the transport syndicate. Highways should always be open and no matter what the pretext the obstacles should be removed within an hour even if force has to be used.

The Home Ministry should take up efficient service delivery particularly of the Nepal Police, Armed Police Force, National Investigation Department and offices of the district administration. But often a new minister promises to reshape the ministry, implying that the previous governments had put it in a bad shape, and the next minister is likely to repeat this ritual. This means our ministries are always in need of a reorganization.

Improvement is a continuous process. The average tenure of Prime Ministers in Nepal hovers around just one year. Efficient and effective service delivery is what the public want most.

If any minister could get the government servants to discharge their specified duties honestly and efficiently, results would start to become visible and make impact very soon.

Garbage and fuel

The Kathmandu Metropolitan City has now officially started producing biogas from biodegradable waste under a four-year-old project of Rs. 18.2 million.

This is part of a bigger solid waste management project jointly run by KMC and the European Union. 300 kg of organic fertilizer, 14 kilowatts of electricity and 13,500 litres of water will be produced daily from three metric tons of organic waste.

This focus on generating biofuel is rightly placed.

But not a pretty side of our development efforts is our over-dependence on foreign aid. We do not seem even to dispose of solid waste on our own but depend even for a few crores on foreigners in running any project or programme. When will we grow up?

An even greater urgency is for KMC to arrange to collect garbage from all wards of the city. It has been providing token service which serves only a small percentage of the Kathmanduites. Private garbage collectors generally do not turn up regularly despite charging the service seekers a tidy amount every month.

Let KMC charge a reasonable fee but it should provide reliable service to all as soon as possible.