9 Dec, Kathmandu. The process of appointing a new managing director of Nepal Telecom Company Limited (Nepal Telecom) has been embroiled in controversy.
Dispute has erupted in the new directive and advertisement regarding the appointment and service facility of managing director issued by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology after Dilliram Adhikari left the post of managing director on January 7. Contrary to past practice, the ministry has been accused of issuing new directives to curb competition and bring in its own people. The government has implemented the new directive instead of the directive issued in 2072 BS.
As the new directive and advertisement were published on the same day on December 7, the number of fake competitions within the telco has also increased. In the preparation of those who want to compete inside and outside the organization, the past practice and the qualification prescribed contrary to the recommendation of the Telecom Board of Directors has poured cold water.
The 2072 directive allowed aspiring Nepali citizens up to 58 years of age to openly compete for the post of managing director of Telecom. Telecom director Anantaman Singh, who had hoped to do the same this time, has been given an age limit by the new advertisement.
The new guideline, which was brought overnight, has raised the age limit from 58 to 56. Rajendra Pokhrel has also been deprived of competition.
The Board of Directors of Nepal Telecom has manipulated the directive by keeping the age limit as per the previous one.
The guideline calls for 12 years of work experience in Nepal Telecommunication Company Limited and similar telecommunication service providers or organizations or bodies wholly or partially owned by the Government of Nepal. Earlier, 15 such work experiences were requested.
Dilliram Adhikari, who became the managing director after 17 years of experience in the company, was questioned about his ‘performance’.
The government has advertised that the tenure of the managing director, which used to be three years, will be four years. This has also affected the career development of the employees within the telecom.
The Board of Directors has recommended that graduates compete in one of the disciplines of Commerce, Management, Economics, Information Technology, Business Administration, Electronics Engineering, Commuter Engineering and Telecommunication Engineering.An official said that the directive, which was issued in defiance of the Board of Directors’ recommendation, would now have only nominal competition in the telecom sector and the ‘pocket people’ of the power center.
Former employees of Telecom Surendraman Singh and Dr. Rajendra Pokhrel has reached the Supreme Court demanding the repeal of the directive saying that the government has brought the directive in an unjust manner. In the preliminary hearing of the writ petition, a single bench of Justice Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada has issued an interim order in the name of the government to keep the appointment process as it is.
The Nepal Telecom National Employees Union, Nepal Telecom Workers Union and Nepal Tekilum Employees Union within Nepal Telecom have also submitted letters of attention to the Ministry of Communications and the Prime Minister’s Office protesting against the new directive.
It is mentioned in the letter that doubts have arisen during the appointment of the managing director due to self-motivated change in the selection method and criteria including educational qualification, work experience, service period.
Chairman of the Nepal Telecommunication National Employees’ Union, Yadav Prasad Paneru, says that the organization and the nation will incur huge losses if the directives are changed by focusing on the interests of competent people.
“With the arrival of competent and competent people, the organization is strengthened, the service flow is strengthened and the people get quality services at competitive rates,” he says.
Secretary of the Ministry of Communications and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Nepal Telecom Baikuntha Aryal says that the process of open competition has been stopped as per the court order. “There is a demand for reasons regarding the appointment process. We will answer the questions raised in the court,” he said.
A selection and recommendation committee comprising joint secretary Uttar Kumar Khatri and former secretary Kishore Kumar Karki has been formed under the coordination of secretary Aryal for the appointment of managing director.
According to ministry sources, nine people, including Telecom’s Chief Commercial Officer Sangeeta Pahadi and Human Resources Department Chief Suraj Singh Thapa, have applied for the post of managing director. Former Managing Director Buddhi Acharya, Former Manager Amalendunarayan Singh, Former Chief Financial Officer Pradeepraj Upadhyay, Former General Manager of Nepal Water Supply Corporation Arjun Babu Dhakal, Executive Director of National Information Technology Center Sunil Poudel, Former Head of Innovation Center of Tribhuvan University Deepak Shahi and former employee of Telecom Nagendra Das are also competing.
The game is being played in the ministry and telecom to make Sunil Poudel, who is considered close to Bikal Poudel, the executive director of the Security Printing Center, managing director, along with former communications minister Gokul Baskota, involved in the security printing press purchase scam.
According to Tekilum officials, the new directive was issued to suit Poudel, who has a controversial background.