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Political And Financial Implications Of Holding up A Flight

Issue September 2019

Political And Financial Implications Of Holding up A Flight

Siddhi B Ranjitkar


The flight number BHA 406 of the Buddha Air from Nepalgunj to Kathmandu had been delayed on Saturday, September 14, 2019; it has currently heated up the Nepalese media, as the passengers lashed out Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai in the plane causing aircraft to tilt because of all the passengers assembled in one spot, and the flight was further delayed for four-five minutes, the news on the front page of “gorkhapatra” published on September 17, 2019 stated. Chairman of NCP Prachanda has been concerned with the forces rising up against the system. The opposition party lawmakers in the parliament, and the civil society leaders have been concerned with the cadres of the ruling communist party causing vandalism and anarchy.


The private mediate news had been reporting that the minister had asked the airlines to hold on the flight until he would be able to board, as he had to make the replies in the parliament on Sunday, the next day. Passengers had been waiting impatiently. They grew angry because of the flight was held up for the minister to come. When the minister boarded it was already one hour the passengers had been waiting for him. So, the passengers were furious at the minister for delaying the flight. So, all the passengers attacked the minister verbally. However, the minister and his security guards remained calm and took the hits calmly. That was at the Nepalgunj airport on Saturday evening before the plane was to take off.


Writing to the Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) on Monday, September 16, 2019, the Buddha Air said that the flight from Nepalgunj to Kathmandu was delayed just for 24 minutes on Saturday, September 14, 2019; Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai boarded the plane 20 minutes after the passengers were in the plane; self-appointed anti-corruption warrior Gyanendra Shahi confronted Minister Bhattarai for delaying the flight, and the video of the ruckus inside the plane went viral on the social media; Shahi held a press conference on that issue in the Kathmandu Valley on Sunday the next day; the police took Shahi in custody from the press conference and released on Monday; then, the Kaski chapter of youth wing of ruling NCP banned the entry of Shahi in the district over the incident, the news on stated on September 16, 2019.


The flight delay must have political and financial implications.


The minister instead of politely apologizing the passengers for holding up the flight for such a long time, and then explaining them why he needed to hold up the plane kept mute and took the hits from the passengers, who were naturally so furious at the minister. Someone had taken the video of the incident and posted on the social media surely causing the tremendous damage to the government and the NCP, too.


Then, the government used the police to arrest Shahi from the press conference the next day ostensibly for causing chaos in the press conference held to inform the public about the minister irresponsibly holding up the flight for an hour. Shahi happened to be a reporter, too. So, the police had done again damage to the minister for trying to please him only to release Shahi for a hero’s welcome Monday, the next day. This has been probably another political punch the minister has taken.


The next horrendous action probably the minister must have taken was using the political cadres to counter Shahi for going against the minister. As the news on stated that the Kaski chapter of youth wing of the ruling NCP prohibited Shahi from entering the district. Who are those guys who simply take the law in their hands and declare to ban someone from entering a district, logical thinking folks asked? Are they authorized to do so? Probably, yes, because the government or the police administration for that matter the Home Ministry remained muted. The Home Minister needed to send the police to take in custody those guys, who had taken the law in their own hands, and then ensure the security of all citizens of Nepal to travel any parts of the country without any hindrances, as the Constitution of Nepal of 2015 provided the citizens with the rights to do so.


The most dreadful action of the Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation had been to hold up the flight for an hour or for 24 minutes it did not matter but he did it with the clear intention of having the dictatorial power, folks said. How the minister derived the rights to hold up the flight keeping the passengers waiting? It was really an awfully dictatorial action of the minister clearly accountable to the public welfare had caused so much of harm to the passengers.


The irony is that the prime minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal keeping silence on this serious matter of breaching the Constitution of Nepal of 2015 has probably accepted the action of the minister in question. Nobody has rights to hold up any public transport for his or her comfort or for any reasons. However, Minister Bhattarai did so for his personal reason and surely for his comfort, too.


The prime minister, ministers and all law enforcement people, lawmakers, the law court, the media and the common folks are responsible to safeguard the Constitution and institutionalized the system the Constitution has created. So, anybody going against the Constitution means violating the Constitution is subject to bringing him or her to justice.


So, the action of holding up the flight from Nepalgunj to Kathmandu on Saturday, September 14, 2019 has the political implication.


Then, the financial implication is not less than the political one.


The tickets for the flight from Nepalgunj to Kathmandu are the contract documents between the passengers and the concerned airlines. Any airlines selling the tickets needed to fly the passengers to the destination at the time mentioned otherwise the airline company would be subject to compensate for the loss the passengers had incurred due to the flight delay. This is an international aviation law.


Some passengers must have chose to fly because they must have the important business in Kathmandu. Let us assume a businessperson had hundreds of millions of business worth of a contract to sign off in Kathmandu but s/he missed it due to the delay in flight. Naturally, it is a great financial loss to the person who missed the plane to fly on schedule.


Let us assume another person is for flying to the Middle East for a new job on the same night. S/he has taken the flight just to get in Kathmandu for catching up the flight to the Middle East. S/he missed the flight to the Middle East because of the delay in the flight from Nepalgunj to Kathmandu. It is a great financial loss caused to the person due to not only s/he needed to buy a new ticket but also due to probably losing the job in the Middle East.


So, the concerned minister needed to think twice or even more about such financial implications before holding up the flight. Disregarding the people’s comfort, concerns and financial implications, the minister must have surely developed the tendency of keeping him above the law and above all the people. Will it be acceptable to the folks of the republic? Certainly not, so they were so angry with the minister for holding the flight no matter for how long disregarding the law and the welfare of the people the minister took the oath to serve.


The minister must have ignored the fact that the government of the democratic States compensates the loss the folks incurred due to the visit of a minister or a prime minister or a president. So, they are very careful not to cause any loss to anybody due to their visit. When will the Nepalese ministers including the prime minister practice of paying the compensation for the loss they cause to the public?


The minister has many options to travel but the common folks might not have. First, if the minister had so important business the next day then he could charter a helicopter as did his predecessor Rabindra Adhikari, who unfortunately lost his precious life along with his companions in a helicopter crash, on which he flew when it met with an accident. The minister could hire a car, or even charter a plane. Unfortunately, he chose to hold up the flight, which had been a grave and surely a disaster mistake for the minister to commit.


Chairman of NCP Prachanda called on the youths to counter the forces making the system fail, prompting the civil society members and the main opposition party in the parliament to term it an attempt on silencing the criticism against the government’s delivery failure, the news on stated on September 16, 2019.


Probably alarmed by the rising up of the common folks against the erring one minister after another, the chairman was calling out the youths probably the cadres of his party to counter the forces that would cause the failure of the system.


First, what system he was talking about that could fail and the second what were the forces posing the threat to the system, the chairman did not bother to explain.


If the chairman was talking about the current system then it was not under threat from any forces as long as the Constitution of Nepal of 2015 remains intact. However, the threat has been surfacing from the ministers breaching the Constitution of Nepal of 2015. So, the chairman must be talking about the forces, which meant the undisciplined ministers.


The system the chairman was talking about must be the government because if one minister after another to cause a tremendous damage to the NCP and its government then these forces would surely end the government in the next general elections. That must be the messages the chairman wanted to convey to his folks.


Civil society leader Krishna Pahadi said if there was any threat to the republican set-up, it must have come from the bad governance, impunity and the anarchy the state had been spreading; failure to take actions against those involved in the scandalous wide-body aircraft procurement and Baluwatar land-grab was clearly the bad governance, and the government was letting the culprits to act with impunity, and the government of the two-thirds majority had been imposing the tax on anything without considering the voices of the stakeholders was also the anarchy, the news on stated on September 16, 2019.


A group of Nepal Communist Party (NCP) cadres allegedly attacked NC leaders and cadres during their nationwide awareness campaign held at the Red Cross hall in Sitapur of Khajura Rural Municipality in the Banke district on Thursday, September 12, 2019 leading to the injury of dozens of NC leaders including septuagenarian NC District President Kiran Koirala, whose hand was fractured, the news on the stated on September 14, 2019.


The NC lawmakers had been obstructing the proceedings of the House of Representatives demanding the Speaker to force the Home Minister to bring the NCP cadres, who had vandalized the campaign and caused the physical damage to the NC leaders to justice but the NCP lawmakers had been trying to refute the charges the NC lawmakers had made.


September 17, 2019


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