Government names Kansakar NAC MD, Gautam DG of CAAN
The government today appointed Sugat Ratna Kansakar as managing director of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) and Sanjeev Gautam as director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) for four-year terms.
The cabinet meeting today has picked both for the vacant posts, though the Public Enterprises Directorate Board has the right to appoint the chief at NAC. The Finance Ministry has relaxed the rule to allow political appointment at the national flag carrier.
The Finance Ministry had taken a written consent from Prime Minister’s Office for political appointment at NAC as in the absence of leadership the national flag carrier had been facing a crisis.
Kansakar, after being appointed managing director of the NAC, said that he will start executing the national flag carrier's long-stalled plan of expansion. The NAC had borrowed Rs 10 billion – under Finance Ministry’s guarantee – from Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) to purchase two Airbus A320 planes, though Kansakar had sealed the initial deal with Airbus. Kansakar was also briefly jailed for alleged corruption in the deal.
Though, political appointment at NAC is a 'policy flaw' – according to the Board's chairman Bimal Wagle – appointment of Kansakar is expected to help NAC expand its wings in the sky again.
This is the second time Kansakar will be heading the national flag carrier as earlier he was appointed as managing director of NAC in December 2008. But he was relieved from his duty on June 29, 2011, after an allegded corruption case.
The Commission for the Investigation Abuse of Authority (CIAA) on December 24, 2010, had filed a case against Kansakar in the Special Court accusing him of corruption in the Airbus purchase deal. But the Special Court acquitted Kansakar – on April 19, 2011 – that has paved the way for Airbus' entry to Nepal.
The government had then – in December 2012 – appointed Madan Kharel as managing director through open competition, fed up with a five-year power struggle between managing director and executive chairman under a dual-power arrangement.
But Kharel also resigned on March 15 due to unnecessary pressure from NAC chairman Shiva Sharan Neupane, who had been appointed from the political pressure of former chairman of CPN-UML Jhalanatha Khanal. Former tourism minister Deepak Chandra Amatya – who used to be the personal assistant of Khanal – had also proposed Neupane as NAC’s chief before Amatya resigned on May 21. Before Amatya, another tourism minister Bhim Prasad Acharya had also proposed Neupane as NAC chief.
Repeated political power play and red-tape had left the national flag carrier without aircraft for domestic flights, though its has two age-old Boeings for international flights.
However, it has a fleet of four aircrafts – two each Boeings and Airbus – for international flights, and …….. aircraft for domestic flights.
Likewise, Gautam has been appointed director general of the aviation sector regulator. He is currently CAAN deputy director general. Gautam said that he will focus on assuring aviation safety and infrastructure development. The top post at CAAN had been vacant since May after earlier director general Ratish Chandra Lal Suman was suspended in a Nepal Tourism Board irregularities case. Suman would have retired automatically on the age ground on May 6 unless he was suspended.
Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry is also preparing to sign Rs 3.61 billion loan from the China EXIM Bank to purchase four Chinese-made aircraft for additional domestic fleet.
Of the three major agencies under the Tourism Ministry – CAAN, NAC and Nepal Tourism Board – has been left with no leadership since long. After the appointment in two – CAAN and NAC today – the government is yet to appoint chief executive at the NTB that has been without its CEO since October 31, 2011.
Meanwhile, joint-secretary Rudra Singh Tamang has been appointed as the new chief executive officer of Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) Office.
Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development today appointed Tamang as the chief executive officer that has been vacant for the past three days after Purna Bhakta Tandukar was terminated 'due to his failure to assume responsibilities effectively' during the time of national crisis following the devastating earthquake on April 25, and aftershocks.
The government has also appointed Dilip Raj Regmi as the Chief of National Investigation Department (NID). Likewise, the government has also appointed Ganesh Prasad Adhikari as the Additional Director General of NID.