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Protestors issues white paper on irrigularities at Nepal Tourism Board

The agitating tourism entrepreneurs today issued a white paper on anomalies of acting chief executive of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) Subash Niroula.

According to the white paper issued by the Joint Tourism Coordination Committee (JTCC) the amended Financial Bylaws of the board contradicts the Public Procurement Act 2007.

According to proposed Bylaws, the chief executive can spend up to Rs 10 million at a time for tourism promotion activities inside the country and $400,000 at a time outside the country without following due procedure under the Public Procurement Act.

In addition, the Bylaws allow the board to procure goods and services worth up to Rs 2.5 million without inviting tender. But the Public Procurement Act directs to ask for quotation to purchase goods worth more than Rs 1 million.

Addressing the media,  coordinator of Joint Tourism Coordination Committee Ramesh Dhamala said the formation of three-member probe panel by the Tourism Ministry yesterday won’t be acceptable for them. “The government should first include representatives of private sector and tourism experts in the team,” he added.

Representatives of around 31 different travel trade associations are protesting against the board since last two weeks. The committee – a forum of different travel trade associations – plans to organise protest meets in Pokhara, Chitwan, far western region and eastern region tomorrow.

They also argued that the financial irregularities could be revealed if auditors could conduct independent audit. However, the amended Bylaws has clipped the auditors’ wings and made them liable to the chief executive only. “It also proves Niroula’s involvement in financial irregularities,” president of National Entrepreneurs’ Association for Tourism-Nepal Deepak Mahat said.

The tourism entrepreneurs also blamed Niroula for freezing the board’s bank accounts at Nepal Investment Bank and Nabil Bank. The accounts were operated by the board’s director Nandini Lahe Thapa.

They have also accused Niroula of submitting expenses of his personal visits to India at the board. Niroula has also been accused to traveling in economy class and submitting the expenditure of business class tickets.
The agitators have also accused Niroula of hiring his friends and relatives as interns instead of fulfilling the vacant posts at the board, apart from creating posts like officer in-charge, manager in-charge and deputy chief executive against the Employees Bylaws.