Nepal | July 06, 2020

EDITORIAL: Simply unministerial

The Himalayan Times
Share Now:

As minister, Bhattarai must show responsible behaviour, and not be a party to another row in the making

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai is very much in the news, but apparently for the wrong reason. An apology on Facebook, which carried a tinge of politics instead of genuinely feeling sorry for having delayed a Kathmandu-bound flight from Nepalgunj on Saturday evening, has drawn nasty comments on the social media. The Buddha Air flight, scheduled to take off at 6:41, did so only at 7:06 pm, as it had been put on hold at the request of the tourism minister who was caught up in the Dolphin Festival nearby. It was wrong of him to delay the flight, which naturally enraged the passengers who arrived in the capital late in the evening and had to catch a bargaining taxi to take them home. Despite being chastised by the passengers on the plane, he had stayed calm, and the episode would have died down were it not for the comment he posted on Facebook the following day, while being apologetic for the inconvenience caused to the passengers. Taking a clean swipe at one of the passengers who had confronted him – anti-corruption campaigner Gyanendra Shahi – Bhattarai tried to politicise the issue. And the developments that have followed have only drawn Bhattarai into more controversy.

Shahi on Sunday was prevented from holding a press conference to brief the press about the passengers’ unruly behaviour. Why it was necessary for the police to round up Shahi from the venue of the press meet is anyone’s guess. The police explanation is that this was done for his safety as cadres close to the minister had infiltrated the venue. If this was the case, they should have taken the cadres and goons into custody, not Shahi, whose right to express his grievances in public has been violated. If this was not enough, now the Kaski chapter of the youth wing of the ruling Nepal Communist Party has through a statement banned Gyanendra Shahi from entering the district for chiding Minister Bhattarai. The ban on Shahi comes in the wake of NCP chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s instruction to students and youths on Monday to “retaliate against anarchic and reactionary tendencies directed against the democratic republic”. This is nothing but a violation of the fundamental right laid down in the constitution, which allows Nepali citizens to travel freely within the country, and is likely to invite direct confrontation between forces that are hostile to each other.

These recent developments could suck Bhattarai, his government and party into a vortex of controversy, which will only tarnish their image. The people have pinned great hope in our young leaders, like Bhattarai, to take the country forward, and they should lead by example, not be involved in the politics of intimidation. The old generation leadership may not have done much to economically uplift the country, but they spent years in jail to fight against autocratic regimes and introduce democracy in the country. The young generation leaders, who are better educated and well exposed to the outside world, thus, have the onus to perform much better, especially on the economic front. As minister, Bhattarai must show responsible behaviour, and not be a party to another row in the making.

Abide by law

There is a tendency among the house owners in the urban areas to charge more from the tenants for a unit of electricity consumed than fixed by Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA). This is illegal. NEA has now issued a warning to the house owners against charging more than the price fixed by it. At a press conference held on Sunday, NEA Managing Director Kul Man Ghising said electricity tariffs had remained unchanged since he assumed office in 2016. He also warned that he would take legal action against those who collect extra money from the tenants.

In recent times, tenants have asked NEA to sort out this problem. A unit of electricity costs between Rs 3 and Rs 13 for domestic use. But the house owners charge more than that from the tenants for no reason. But the tenants fear to lodge a formal complaint by identifying their names for fear of reprisal from the landlords. There is no reason to collect more money from the tenants as it does not cost the landlord anything extra while paying the electricity bill. NEA must take legal action against the erring landlords if the tenants lodge complaints against those who flout the law.


A version of this article appears in print on September 17, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Nepal's Covid-19 death-toll at 34, five fatalities recorded in the last six days

KATHMANDU: Nepal has recorded 34 coronavirus related fatalities so far with five deaths logged in the last six days. Nepal had recorded the first-ever death attributed to the contagion on May 14. A 29-year-old new mother from Bahrabise Municipality of Sindhupalchowk died with coronavirus. Mini Read More...

Baglung man who died inside quarantine facility diagnosed with Covid-19

POKHARA: A 29-year-old who died on Saturday night in Dhorpatan Municipality-4 of Baglung has been confirmed to have contracted COVID-19. A PCR test conducted at State Tuberculosis Centre in Pokhara confirmed his infection hours after his death, informed  Suraj Gurau, Chief of the Health Office, Read More...

Mikel Arteta

Arsenal learning to suffer to win, says Arteta

LONDON: Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal's willingness to "suffer" will bring the good times back to the north London club. His side's 2-0 win at in-form Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday was arguably the best result since Arteta replaced Unai Emery in December and put them seventh in the Pre Read More...

Japan floods leave up to 34 dead, many at nursing homes

TOKYO: Deep floodwaters and the risk of more mudslides that left at least 34 people confirmed or presumed dead hampered search and rescue operations Sunday in southern Japan, including at elderly home facilities where more than a dozen died and scores were still stranded. Helicopters and boats re Read More...

Nepal's Covid-19 tally nears 16k as 293 cases surface on Sunday

KATHMANDU: With the confirmation of 293 new cases, Nepal's coronavirus infection tally has reached 15,784 on Sunday. Likewise, 132 recoveries were reported by the Ministry of Health and Population, which has taken the total number of recoveries in the country to 6547. Read Also: Over 3000 Covi Read More...

Indians keep their distance in mass tree planting campaign

LUCKNOW: More than 2 million people gathered Sunday at river banks, farmlands and government buildings in northern India while trying to practice social distancing to plant 250 million trees as part of a government plan to tackle climate change. Officials in Uttar Pradesh distributed millions of Read More...

Kathmandu Valley

30 new Covid-19 cases surface in Kathmandu valley on Sunday, tally nears 200

KATHMANDU: With the detection of 30 additional cases, Kathmandu valley's coronavirus infection tally has neared 200 on Sunday. The Ministry of health and population confirmed that 27 cases had surfaced in the capital city in the last 24 hours while, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur reported two and one cas Read More...

2 dead, 8 hurt in South Carolina nightclub shooting

GREENVILLE: A shooting at a South Carolina nightclub left two people dead and eight wounded, a sheriff's official said. Two Greenville County sheriff's deputies noticed a disturbance at Lavish Lounge just before 2 a.m., and saw a large crowd running out of the building, Sheriff Hobart Lewis said Read More...