How can Nepal improve when politicians advocate for criminals and local administration staff demand bribe openly? Though the people voted sensibly objecting the extremist views of Maoists and their associates during the election, there is frustration among the masses as the politics has been criminalised. The speeches made by some UML MPs after the killing of gang leader known as ‘Chari’ indicates how Nepali politics has close links with criminal gangs. UML leader Rajendra Pandey and his friends obstructed the proceedings of the parliament for some hours in protest of the killing of the criminal gang leader ‘Chari’ who is also a UML leader in Dhading district. ‘ Chari’ was said to have been killed in the cross firing with the police, who were following him for a number of serious criminal offences including the drug dealing, arson attack and other serious criminal activities. The infamous criminal was killed when massive landslide had swept the whole village in Dolakha district killing over 100 people and many of the districts in western Nepal were seriously affected due to the floods and landslides. However, the UML leaders, who were concerned with the death of a criminal rather than the plight of innocent people suffering from the natural calamities. This clearly indicates how these UML leaders are funded and for whose interest they work. Shame on you UML leaders, who raised voice and obstructed the parliament without raising their concern of the people of affected by floods and landslides. Shame on you!
Meanwhile, another infuriating situation of Nepal is that civil servants have no sense of public service. I had the experience of such anomalies in administration while renewing my passport in the district administration office of Parbat. I had gone for recommendation for MRP but the employees of the administration office took me to a private form filling office in Kushma Bazaar. The employees were busy taking the people to different private centres where everything is done in integrated manner: taking photos, filling form and other administrative work. It seemed that these private firms were busy doing the works of the administration office and civil servants were busy to take people and collect money from them. When I needed recommendation of the VDC, the employees of the DDC took me to these private firms. There were VDC secretaries busy to do the job for these firms.
Interestingly, when I filled the form and submitted to the DDC administration office, the officer and staff looked my and my wife’s passports and whispered to each other ‘’ they have UK visa.’’ Looking the passport, turning pages time and again the officer in the passport section said: ‘’ your citizenship certificate does not have full date of birth so you have to make a new citizenship certificate.’’ I said I do not need to make new citizenship certificate as we have one and we just want to renew the passport.
‘’ No you need to make new citizenship certificate,’’ he insisted. I said if so then we will make. Their purpose was not to make the citizenship but to make money or take bribe creating difficulties to us. Then he started to say your citizenship certificate does not match the date of birth of your passport. I said ‘’ I have both the certificates: citizenship and passport, both are issued by the government and I have renewed the passport several times then what is the problem of renewing it again.’’
They started to argue with us shouting loudly. I told them to calm down and speak politely. But they were very rude, wild and presented themselves in an uncivilised manner. I asked them to give me information in writing so that I will discuss with their senior officer. But they said ‘’ this is the rule’’as if whatever they say is the rule. Then I said I will see the Chief District Officer.
CDO was not there but Assistant CDO Chuda Raj Bhattarai was arguing with some people. I explained him that I have to renew my passport and explained what his assistants were saying. Then he also started to say in a loud voice that I need to make a new citizenship certificate. That was not a problem for me. But the interesting explanation was that my date of birth would be the citizenship certificate issue date. I was born in Jestha but they were explaining me that my new date of birth would be Asar because the issue date was in Asar. They knew that I had the visa stamped in my passport so I cannot change the date of my passport so they wanted ‘ bribe’ that too hefty amount for this .
Despite my several request, explanation about this situation, they were adamant. I was tired, annoyed and completely frustrated by their behaviour. What they were saying was completely unreasonable, unrealistic and obdurate. I said ‘’ you have completed at least undergraduate degree and you are the servant of the general public so you should behave politely.’’ But my request and appeal did not work. They were laughing and chatting loudly as if they are the masters and we depend on them.
While I was talking with them, one of the employees of the district administration office, who took me to the private form to fill the form came to me and said in front of the passport handling officer and employees ‘’everything will be alright, you just need to give some money.’’ The staff who were shouting with me smiled broadly when they heard him saying ‘’ it will be alright, they just need money.’’ But I said: ‘’ I will not pay any bribe for this.’’ I am ready to pay the charge for the service but I will not pay bribe to you corrupt staffs, I said angrily.
‘’ We cannot make your citizenship certificate,’’ said the employees. I grabbed citizenship certificate and passport and left the district administration office with heavy heart. How can we improve the situation of Nepal when officers openly demand bribe for any simple administrative works and even the CDO is silent on such issue? Where are the authorities responsible for the control of such misuse? How can the situation improve when politicians have concerned of the criminals and local administration has the concerned of collecting bribe?