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Martyrs’ Week And Oli Administration

February Issue 2019

Martyrs’ Week And Oli Administration

Siddhi B. Ranjitkar


Prime Minister KP Oli attended the ceremony of marking the final martyrs’ day at the memorial of the martyrs at Lainchaur in Kathmandu on the last day of the martyrs’ week commemoration. His cabinet decided to declare 2,807 securities the martyrs but nothing about those they disappeared and killed during the People’s Liberation War the Maoists used to call. The academicians that had so pompously celebrated the 297th anniversary of Prithvi Narayan Shah did not bothered to do the same for the martyrs. Many real martyrs including the martyrs of the Madhesh movement that had shed their precious blood for the republican setup, for democracy and for the rule of law were ignored, on whose sacrifices the current government has been formed. The state-run media particularly “gorkhapatra” that had publicized Prithvi Narayan Shah so widely and vividly had made the scanty publicity of martyrs. Common folks believe that the dream of martyrs has not been met, yet because even after Nepal becoming the republic common folks continued to suffer from repression, from the corruption, misrule, and misinformation.


It has been a tradition to mark a martyrs’ week starting on the day the then Rana Prime Minister Juddha Shumsher with the palm print of the then King Tribhuvan first hanged Sukraraj Shastri on Magh 10, 1997 (January 1941) making him the first martyr, and then ending a week later.  After hanging Shastri, Juddha Shumsher then went on hanging Dharmabhakta Mathema and finally shot Dasharath Chand and Gangalal Shrestha dead making four martyrs. This year the martyrs’ week fell from January 24 to 30. The marking of the martyrs’ day reaches the peak and ends on the final day of the week.


The group of the Academicians of the Nepal Academy, Academy of Arts, and Sciences together did not took out the portraits of martyrs to the statues of the martyrs as they did take out the portrait of Prithvi Narayan Shah from the Academy office down to the statue of Prithvi Narayan Shah at Singhdurbar on the day of the 297th anniversary of Prithvi Narayan Shah on January 11, 2019. Those academicians have been in the present positions thanks to the sacrifices of the martyrs. Without the blood the martyrs had shed these guys in the positions of academicians today would probably not be there. This is the current development process in Nepal for back stepping rather than moving ahead.


Similarly, Prime Minister Oli did not bother to take the president to the ceremony of marking the martyrs’ day as he did take the president to the statue of Prithvi Shah in celebrating the 297th anniversary of the Shah on January 11, 2019. Obviously for the president and the prime minister, Prithvi Shah has been more important than the martyrs whose sacrifices have made the daughter and the son of common folks to be in such high positions. Probably, Mr. Oli has been in the shadow of the crown of the last Rana Prime Minister Mohan Shumsher even though the then king Tribhuvan sold the crown in America for his medical treatment in Switzerland in 1955.


The Oli cabinet meeting held on Monday, January 28, 2019 declared 1,018 soldiers of Nepali Army, 1,448 police of Nepal Police, 318 of Armed Police Force, and 23 of National Investigation altogether 2,807 as martyrs, Prime Minister Oli told while speaking at an event held at Halchok in Kathmandu on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 to mark the 18th anniversary of the Armed Police Force, the news in “gorkhapatra” stated on January 30, 2019. It did not say where and when they died; it only stated that they died on duty. Common folks questioned whether the families of those martyrs Mr. Oli’s cabinet had declared would receive one million each, as other martyrs did, who were declared under the force of the political parties that the folks belonged to.


Common folks have been asking what about the thousands of innocent people and the rebels called Maoists died in the hands of the army, the armed police and Nepal police during the armed revolution from 1996 to 2006. Whose sacrifices made during the insurgency had ended the monarchy and made the republican setup a reality thus partially meeting the dreams of the four first martyrs who had lost their precious lives in the hands of those rulers in 1941, and ultimately, they made possible to place the current president and the prime minister in such high positions.


The army had gone too far during the insurgency rounding up hundreds of innocent folks and labeling them as Maoists either killed or made disappeared, the families of them have been still waiting to know whereabouts of them. The Oli administration needed to find out their whereabouts and needed to apologize to the families of the victims for the army killing or making them disappeared for their no faults.


Mr. Oli and the president needed to understand whether they would be in the positions where they are today if the army, police, the armed police force and the folks belonged to the national investigation had won the People’s Liberation War, common folks asked. Mr. Oli has correctly redressed the grievances of the families of those securities killed on duty declaring them the martyrs. Probably, Mr. Oli needed to do the same to those people killed or lost during the insurgency.


In the same event held at Halchok in Kathmandu on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 to mark the 18th anniversary of the Armed Police force, Prime Minister Oli said, “I won’t be involved in corruption and will not tolerate others involving in corruption, if someone involves in corruption I won’t let him/her go free no matter who s/he is,” the news in “gorkhapatra” quoted the prime minister as saying on January 30, 2019.


On January 30, 2019 in other words on the same day, the news in the second page of “gorkhapatra” has stated that the report of the Transparency International has it that the corruption in Nepal has not decreased, as Nepal has remained in the 124th position as it was in the last year; so, the corruption in Nepal has been worrisome. Does it mean that Mr. Oli has been intolerable to corruption even after being the prime minister for so many months? Perhaps not because the Oli administration had disastrously failed in curing the corruption as the Transparency International has stated


Mr. Oli has been behind the wheel of the administration for more than 10 months. He has not been tired of speaking against corruption, and telling the people that he has the zero tolerance of corruption. However, the Transparency International report has made it clear that the corruption has remained as it is. Even his party colleagues have been telling that since Oli has become the prime minister, the corrupt officials, businesspeople, contractors, and even the lawmakers should have been terrified but it has not happened so far. Is Mr. Oli really sincere in his words or is he simply misinforming the people?


Probably, the current Oli administration deliberately or simply has ignored many real martyrs including the martyrs of the Madhesh movement that had shed their precious blood for the republican setup, for democracy and for the rule of law, and that had made the current government the reality. The Oli administration did not mention even the martyrs such as Lakhan Thapa, Durganand Jha, and other martyrs who shed their blood during the Madhesh movement that had contributed significantly to declare the end of the monarchy in Nepal. The Oli administration did not bother to appreciate the “Bali-dani Diwas” the Madheshi people have marked recently.


The state-run media particularly “gorkhapatra” had vividly and widely publicized the already proved misinformation on Prithvi Narayan Shah, and repeatedly published the portrait of Prithvi Shah a few days before and a few days after the 297th anniversary of the Shah but the same newspaper had the scant publicity of the martyrs, and it even broke up the tradition of publishing articles with the portraits of four martyrs in the Saturday supplement or a special martyrs’ week issue. Why the newspaper the Oli administration has been running, has been so bias against the publicity of the martyrs. The executive chairman for the Gorkhapatra Sansthan the Oli administration has appointed recently needed to answer such a question of the common folks.


Common folks from across Nepal speaking to the anchor of the “antar-sambad” on January 30, 2019 mostly said that the dream of martyrs has not been met, yet; some others said that the dream of martyrs has been partially met, as Nepal has been a republic but people continued to suffer from repression, from the corruption, from the delay in the service delivery, misrule, and misinformation. Common folks would need to rise up again, some folks said while talking to the anchor.


“Let us all come up with resolution today again to end corruption by maintaining good governance. Let us hand over the country with equality of rights, people’s respect and rule of law to the generation to come,” the news on quoted Mr. Oli as saying while speaking at the event at the Martyrs Memorial Park in Lainchaur on January 30, 2019. The news also has stated that in the same event Mr. Oli also has said that none would need to become martyrs in the fight for rights from now onward as the democratic regime has been already set up in the country.


However, the Khokhana people have to suffer from the government forcibly taking their land and religious and cultural buildings for constructing a fast track highway, as if there is no alternatives routes, the folks at Chovar have to endure the encroachment on their land for building a dry port, which is the most suitable to build in at the central Terai, and the folks at Sundhara in Kathmandu have to face intrusion in their habitat. Will all these activities of the Oli administration provoke the folks to rise up? Probably, again the bloodshed would be for fighting their rights to live peacefully.


Now, the State agency fighting against the corruption has probably challenged the Oli’s intolerance of corruption making brightly obvious the prevalence of corruption everywhere in the State agencies. The news titled “Contractors siphoned off Rs. 24b from sick projects: CIAA” posted on on January 30, 2019 has the following.


The study report the Commission on Investigation into Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has stated that about 1,848 projects under the contract agreements amounting to NPR 118 billion have not completed as scheduled while about 55.8 percent contracts weren’t extended. At least 1,032 infrastructure development projects the eight different government agencies have managed have time overrun but time extension has not been made for them.


Contractors have received about NPR 24 billion as the 20 percent mobilization cost. “The contractors have got the payment of the initial 20 percent of the contract amount but there has been zero or nominal progress in most of the projects which means the term of the advanced payment guarantee has been finished,” read the report.


Following the rules, if a contractor stops working for more than 30 consecutive days and does not follow the action plan the managing agency has approved, means a ‘fundamental breach of the contract.’ “But the responsible agencies have turned blind eyes to the mismanagement and delay at the project. As the contracts had been tendered out without proper procurement plan, many of them are left in lurch,” said the CIAA report.


Time extension has to be made eight times for a project exhibiting the negligence of the government agencies and the officials in preparing the tender document, and deciding the contract period and terms of reference. For example, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has extended the time for a project twice the time of its schedule; consequently, the project supposed to be completed in two years six months, couldn’t be completed even in seven years and six months.


The Department of Roads (DoR) under the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport has 906 incomplete projects, Department of Urban Development and Building Construction (DUDBC) under the Ministry of Urban Development has 442 incomplete projects and Department of Water Resources and Irrigation (DoWRI) under the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation has 235 incomplete projects. Similarly, the DoR, DUDBC, and DoWRI have 623, 171, and 94 projects respectively without term extension as well.


Other agencies having large number of sick projects are the Department of Local Infrastructure under the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration, NEA under the MoWRI, Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Nepal Telecommunication Company under the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and Department of Water Supply and Sewerage (MoWSS) under the Ministry of Water Supply.


All the components of contract such as time, quality and cost control and finishing have been flouted; however, a trend of finding scapegoat and excuses for the poor performance of projects has continued; due to the incomplete infrastructure projects the contribution of infrastructures to the society, economy and country has been none causing huge losses to the economy and to the sufferings of the people, the CIAA study report stated.


Certainly, the Oli administration has found the scapegoat and excuses for not completing the Melamchi Drinking Water Project, which was supposed to send water from the Melamchi River to the Kathmandu Valley in the last Dashain festival. Now, it has been uncertain when the water would flow from the Melamchi River To Kathmandu because the work has been entirely suspended. The reason given was the Italian contractor quit the job but nothing mentioned why the contractor did so. It is probably a fishy business of the Oli administration, common folks think.


Prime Minister Oli needed to say whether he has the tolerance of such delay in completing the projects or not whether such delay in the project performances is corruption or not. If he has no tolerance of such corruption then why those project performances are not corrected even after ten months of the Oli administration. Are Mr. Oli’s words did really match with his deeds? Without answering these questions if Mr. Oli continues to say that he has no tolerance of corruption at every speech then he would probably be a laughingstock rather than a serious prime minister.


Again the question is whether the call of Prime minister Oli for “Let us all come up with the resolution today again to end corruption by maintaining good governance. Let us hand over the country with equality of rights, people’s respect and rule of law to the generation to come” would be realized with the negligence of completing projects as schedule and whether such negligence would make the good governance possible.


Mr. Oli has floated a slogan “Prosperous Nepal Happy Nepali.” Probably, Mr. Oli would not be able to make everybody happy because it is the human nature not to be happy. However, he could make Nepal a prosperous country but with his current finance minister and the widely prevailing corruption in every State agency, probably, Mr. Oli would not be successful to make Nepal prosperous, too. Then, what is it, is it only cheap publicity or misinformation, maybe both?


February 1, 2019


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