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Sunday, July 3, 2011

TIA runway

On : 10:59 AM
In :
We are aghast that the poor quality of runway overlay and helipad construction at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) has not just obstructed international flights but also put lives of thousands of passengers and crew members at risk. The news and pictures of crumbled roads immediately after their constructions are regularly splashed in the Nepalis newspapers.

But similar pictures and news about the runaway in the country’s only international airport were unseen and unheard of in the past. That the corruption and irregularities have happened in such a sensitive place like runway only indicates the growing audacity of the corrupt officials and contractors. The widespread impunity that corrupt officials and contractors enjoy in this country must have emboldened them to think that they can escape justice irrespective of the scale of corruption and crime they are involved in. This must change.

The parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has taken a right step in this direction. The PAC members, following an inspection of the TIA runway and helipad and interrogation of the concerned officials and contractors, have reached a preliminary conclusion that there were irregularities in both construction of the helipad and overlay of the runway. PAC members suspect that raw materials used in the overlay and helipad construction were sub-standard. As referred to by the PAC, the constitutional anti-graft body, Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), should now launch an in-depth investigation into the issue and bring those guilty to book.

That there is already a pending case at the CIAA claiming that the contract for overlay work was awarded through a faulty selection process lends further credence that systemic irregularities led to the poor quality of the work at the TIA. Though the CIAA has also instructed the government to take action against the guilty, we suggest that the government and its agencies should step aside and let the CIAA fully investigate the matter and file a case at the Special Court after the completion of the investigation.

We applaud the initiatives taken by the parliamentary committees, especially the PAC, in taking up corruption cases seriously. If it had not formed a probe committee to investigate irregularities in procurement of the armed personnel carriers for the Nepal Police peacekeepers in Sudan, one of the biggest corruption cases in Nepali history would have gone unnoticed. Its probe report helped the CIAA take the corrupt police officials to the court and the Supreme Court has already sought clarifications from concerned politicians and civil servants about their involvement in the scam. If the parliamentary committees play active roles, this alone can contribute hugely to promoting accountability in the country. We do not expect anything less than that from them.

Published on 2011-07-02 01:20:39


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