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CIAA directs govt to resume services at NTB

KATHMANDU: The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), on Wednesday, directed the government to solve problems related to Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and bring its services into operation within three days. The instruction comes at a time when NTB has not been able to function for the last 52 days.NTB’s service delivery to tourists and tourism entrepreneurs, tourism promotion activities, and daily work have remained affected due to the conflict between NTB and travel and tour entrepreneurs. Even though the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) formed two separate committees to investigate the alleged irregularities at NTB and to help reform it, the panels are yet to begin their tasks.In a press release issued by CIAA, the anti-graft body has stated that if MoCTCA fails to solve the problem within three days, it will take action against officials of the Tourism Ministry, NTB and other concerned officials. It has also expressed deep concern over the alleged financial irregularities at NTB, absence of a chief executive officer for a long time, and NTB staffs not working.

For nearly the last two months, tourism entrepreneurs and NTB have been in a tussle regarding alleged irregularities by the acting CEO and NTB Board. More than 20 associations related to the travel and tour industry have also been demanding investigation over irregularities at NTB, its restructuring and amendment to the NTB Act, among others. They have also been demanding that the government remove Acting CEO of NTB Subash Nirola, accusing him of misusing NTB’s funds.

Nirola, however has been saying that they were using funds as per the rules of NTB. After the Tourism Ministry’s assurance to solve the problems, agitating tourism entrepreneurs had postponed their protest and hunger strike on June 2. But, even after this NTB is yet to start its regular services as some staffs are also against supporting Nirola.

“We are hopeful that NTB will start its normal work from Thursday even if acting CEO is absent,” said Ramesh Dhamala, president of Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal. He said the NTB Act allows other senior officials of NTB to run the office in the absence of a CEO or acting CEO.

Meanwhile, MoCTCA has added two new members in the committee formed to make recommendations to the government for restructuring NTB and making it an effective institution. The two new members added, on Monday, are Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of Nepal Mountaineering Association and Sher Jung Karki, undersecretary of MoCTCA. Committee now has a total of 15 members under coordination of Mohan Krishna Sapkota, joint secretary at MoCTCA.

Earlier, based on the demand of tourism entrepreneurs, MoCTCA had included three new members representing travel and tourism sector in the investigation committee formed to probe possible irregularities at NTB. The seven-member committee is headed by Purna Chandra Bhattarai, joint secretary of MoCTCA.

Source: The Himalayan Times
Date: 18 June, 2014
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Sanju G.C

Sanju G.C

An avid wanderer, observer and a travel writer, Sanju loves to share her experiences through words. She has extensively traveled in the South Eastern Regions. Sanju now plans to travel the world, “travel does not make connections, it build relations,” she quotes.
Sanju G.C

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