Fat cuts

Even as the second 15-day deadline, to submit the details of the repairable or auctionable property, is to expire on December 15, top government officials appear unruffled by the urgency of the special task force’s demands. The deadline was extended when the earlier time-limit of November 30 went unheeded for the submission of the descriptions of machines, tools, equipment and vehicles in need of repairs or disposal. Bureaucrats had wrapped the deadline up in metres of red tape, or greeted them with characteristic official insouciance. As of now, only eight of the two dozen ministries are reported to have complied, though grudgingly. It should be no wonder, therefore, that our officials do not have many feathers on their caps

The Home Ministry alone owns 28 unused vehicles - a few of them said to be in fine fettle - minus the bill books and other legal documents. The details of other movables lying unused and belonging to the various ministries can be expected to be skimpy too. A tendency that has long been noticed as regards the treatment meted out to government vehicles and other movables is that officials prefer to dump used ones, even if they can be put well back into good use with some repairs, and to go on to splurge on expensive new purchases, because they bring in fat cuts. Unless a way is found to deal effectively with this chronic disease, things are expected to remain much the same, even in New Nepal.