The Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoTCA), Jitendra Narayan Dev has again initiated its politicization to turf out the Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), Mr. Sanjiv Gautam from the top post of the country’s aviation regulatory body.
According to Source, the minister had uttered his anger towards the secretary Mr. Maheshwar Neupane and at the Cabinet Meeting held at Election Commission on December 28, 2017 accusing them of preventing him from removing Gautam from the post for not cooperating with him.
“The secretary [Neupane] didn’t cooperate with me. Later, I was summoned by the Election Commission on the same issue,” a highly-placed source quoted Dev as saying at the cabinet meeting. “Now, there is no hindrance of the election code of conduct but the secretary has been resisting the appointment and transfer of officials.”
A highly-placed source at the ministry said that the minister has been working hard to appoint Joint Secretary Mr. Suresh Acharya as the DG of CAAN.
Then, the minister had directed Neupane to prepare a proposal to appoint Acharya in place of Gautam. “However Neupane didn’t abide by his direction,” said the source. “Neupane went to Pokhara on Tuesday to avoid his involvement in the controversial decision.” Now the minister wants to forward his proposal directly to the cabinet, said the source.
According to sources, Chief Secretary Lok Darshan Regmi, too, is against the minister’s proposal.
Sources said the minister wants to renew lease agreement of business lounge of Hotel Radisson and other around three dozen of shops and stalls inside Tribhuwan International Airport for ten years. However Gautam has objected to this proposal. “As Gautam was for opening a tender and awarding the lease to anyone offering the highest amount, the minister became angry with him,” said the source.
Minister Dev didn’t want to discuss with the Media Personnel on this issue.
Meanwhile, private airlines operators have protested against the minister’s plan to remove Gautam from the position. “There is something wrong in the plan to remove DG of the CAAN at a time when the civil aviation is undergoing through a serious crisis,” said Buddha Air Managing Director Birendra Bahadur Basnet. “Now the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority should investigate into the matter.” He also said that the present outgoing government has no authority to take any decision having a long-term policy impact.
Managing Director of Summit Air, Manoj Karki, and Chief Executive Officer of Fishtail Air, Suman Pandey said that Gautam should be given more time as he has tried to make some positive changes in the aviation sector.
Mr. Sanjiv Gautam was allotted in the seat of Director General of CAAN in May 2015 for four years. During the tenure, Gautam is attributed by the country’s aviation sector removed from International Civil Aviation Organization’s list of significant safety concerns, an airlines representative recounted.
SOURCE: Susheel Bhattarai