Law Violators Everywhere



Bishnu Gautam

The arrest of five individuals by the Metropolitan City Town Police Saturday morning for dumping garbage in the Bagmati River at Sinamangal should come as an eye opener for the denizens accustomed to violating the Waste Management Act-2068. Those arrestees, as reported in the media,  included workers of a hotel, a chicken house, a sweet shop, a furniture shop and a glass house. They were fined Rs 5,000 each for their crime. This was probably the first incident in which anyone involved in littering the holy river was arrested and fined.

This incident also revealed how the people who have been running different businesses were totally indifferent towards the ongoing Bagmati clean-up campaign that has been in place for the last 191 weeks. When hundreds of volunteers, many of them probably coming from outside the valley, have been participating in the clean-up campaign by removing tons of solid waste from the riverbed every week, a bunch of businessmen, including hoteliers, still tend to throw garbage in the river. The Sinamangal incident is a testimony to this.  These people were doing this because they did not fear the law.    

Of course, we have all needed laws and regulations, but we are unable to implement them effectively. Arresting and fining a mere Rs.5, 000 were not enough, considering the nature of the crime they committed. They were not only polluting the river, but also challenging the law as well as the Bagmati clean-up campaign. The fine should have been at least Rs 50,000 as all those found throwing garbage in the river were running profit-oriented businesses.

Similar actions should also be taken against all those who continue to violate the laws and rules of other sectors. We can notice breaching the laws in almost all sectors as if the laws in Nepal were only to be violated. The government employees take bribe and abuse their authority. Although the government pays them, they tend to collect bribe from service seekers when they visit their offices to get their work done.  Some of the corrupt employees are even ready to provide citizenship certificate of Nepal to a foreigner if they get money.  Bank employees provide loans exceeding the values of the collateral for the same. School teachers receive funds and salary for fake schools and employees.

Probably, drivers are ahead of all in the eyes of the people in violating the laws. However, businessmen of Nepal surpass others in breaching not only the laws but also business norms.  They are free to forge cartels and impose a syndicate though they know well that they are illegal. They sell contaminated food at unreasonable prices, and create artificial scarcity of essential goods during  times of crisis.

The petrol pumps pump money by selling adulterated oil that is  also less than the asked quantity.  Though a mechanism to monitor the market is said be in place, it is ineffective in regulating the market. Whenever the mechanism dares to take any action against the wrong-doers, the businessmen resort to a strike.  Sometimes, even the employees designated to work in the market monitoring unit seem to be working in favour of the businessmen by leaking important information to them.

Above all, the Nepalese people were greatly shocked when the man appointed to man the powerful anti-graft body—the CIAA-- was himself ‘disqualified’.  The Supreme Court verdict on the CIAA chief clearly showed that not only the driver or a hotelier, but also the executive head and party chiefs in Nepal tend to violate the laws. Otherwise, a man who has not met the required qualification could not have been leading the CIAA for four years!

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