Transport Minister Raghubir Mahaseth has called Director General (DG) of the Department of Transport Management (DOTM) Rup Narayan Bhattarai, who played a big role in ending transportation cartels, back to the ministry.
Bhattarai has been called to the ministry on direct instruction of Minister Mahaseth.
Mahaseth had already taken the decision to remove him from the DOTM Wednesday night but was not able to hand over the letter to Bhattarai in lack of cooperation from staffers at the ministry.
“The letter has been handed to me. I will have seven days to report. I will now go to the place where the government deploys me,” Bhattarai told Setopati.
DG Bhattarai was active in reforming the transportation sector bringing in nine new working procedures after amendment of Transport Management Working Procedure Directives in April.
The Prime Minister’s Office, Home Ministry, and Physical Infrastructure and Transport Ministry all backed Bhattarai at the beginning but Minister Mahaseth was wary.
Transport entrepreneurs were lobbying with Mahaseth to remove Bhattarai and revoke the directives since Bhattarai brought the directives on April 1.
General Administration Minister Lal Babu Pandit, meanwhile, inaugurated renewal of driving license from the service office in Biratnagar on Saturday. Minister Mahaseth, according to a ministry source, was miffed at Pandit being asked to inaugurate despite he being the line minister.
“Minister Mahaseth has taken the decision to bring DG Bhattarai to the ministry Wednesday night,” the Ministry source told Setopati. “But the letter was sent to the department after the secretary said the ministry should coordinate with the PM to implement the decision.”
The decision to remove DG Bhattarai has come at a time when the framework for transport management has to be prepared after the transportation cartels bowed down to the government. Decision has already been taken to not register and renew transport committees registered under the Associations Registration Act from the next fiscal year to end the cartels.
A senior ministry official told Setopati that Minister Mahaseth may have been influenced by transport entrepreneurs to take the decision.
Bhattarai has been leading the DOTM for 13 months and has already taken departmental action against 80 staffers.
The previous government had also made a Cabinet decision to transfer Bhattarai but the then Transport Minister Bir Bahadur Balayar had stopped his transfer.