Lawmakers seek government’s clarification on Gokarna resort, Kalapani issues

  • December 24, 2019

Lawmakers representing both ruling and opposition parties yesterday sought the government’s clarification on issues related to the government leasing out Gokarna Forest Resort and a land plot at Durbarmarg to Yeti Holdings as well as the Nepal-India border issue at Kalapani.

Speaking during special hour of the National Assembly meeting, Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Chief Whip Khim Lal Bhattarai said that the government awarding Nepal Trust’s property — Gokarna Forest Resort and a land plot at Durbarmarg — to a business house had become controversial issues. He went on to demand that the government inform the House regarding the matter.

Meanwhile, Nepali Congress Lawmaker Radheshyam Adhikari said Yeti Holdings was so powerful that it was able to force the government to amend the act related to Nepal Trust to ensure that the property was handed over to the company.

Adhikari questioned the government’s motive behind renewing the lease deal with that particular business house even as the old deal still had six years to expire. “Giving such prime land on lease to a private company and making the owner of the same company a trustee of Nepal Trust has raised strong suspicions about the involvement of the prime minister and the deputy prime minister in corruption.”

Adhikari argued that there was some ill-intention behind the amendment made to the Nepal Trust Act and this could potentially turn out to be a serious case of policy-level corruption.

The government had made an amendment to the Nepal Trust Act to benefit one particular business group from prime properties belonging to the former royal family. Adhikari alleged that the amendment was done to make that illegal deal legal.

Before the amendment, the act did not allow leasing out Nepal Trust property for business purpose with the exception of health and education purposes, according to Adhikari.

“The prime minister’s statement that he would neither indulge in corruption nor allow others to be involved has become a laughing stock,” Adhikari said.

He added that despite wide reportage on the issue, the government had neither objected to it, nor had it tried to assure the people on the issue.

On the Kalapani issue, NC Lawmaker Badri Prasad Pandey asked why PM Oli, who spoke so strongly against the blockade, was mum on the Kalapani issue, which was even more sensitive.