Minister Mandal warns strict action against ‘Mafias of NOC land dealing scam’

Minister for Supplies Shiva Kumar Mandal

KATHMANDU, Aug 4: Minister for Supplies Shiva Kumar Mandal has warned strict action those involved in the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) land procurement scam, if proved.

Speaking during an interaction program organized by the Reporters’ Club Nepal on Friday, Minister Mandal said, “The issue is under investigation in a parliamentary committee. We will not make any compromise for any irregularities if proved in the committee’s report.”

“Everyone involved in the misappropriation of money will be punished,” he added.

He also urged the news media to press the Public Account Committee, Parliament’s Finance Committee for fair probe into the land dealing irregularities and to find out the truth as immediately as possible.

Minister Mandal further said that he has already directed to investigate over the tender procedure followed while procuring the land.

NOC has been accused of being indulged in financial irregularities worth Rs 670 million in the purchase of 84 bigha land while procuring land plots to build storage facilities across the country.

Parliamentary Committees have already started investigating into the alleged irregularities. Lawmakers have claimed that the NOC officials, in collaboration with numerous land agents, have pocketed handsome commission in land deal while purchasing them at three-fold price than the existing market price.

On the occasion, Minister Mandal said that black marketing and artificial shortages would not be allowed under any circumstances, especially during the festival period.
He said the process for amending the related laws and Acts have been initiated with the aim of removing the existing legal hurdles for checking such malpractices.
“The food supply and distribution would be eased during the festival months and discussions are being held with Nepal Food Corporation for transporting food grains to the remote districts,” the Supplies Minister said, adding that efforts were on to contain the market price of goods and petroleum products.

The Minister said that he has been taking information on the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC)’s land purchase scam. “Action would be taken if any kind of irregularities is found in the NOC’s land purchase process,” he stressed.

Stating that the government was to purchase land for building storage facilities for petroleum products in all the seven provinces, he said the storage facilities would have the capacity to store fuel to meet the demand for at least 90 days.

On a different note, he said that the government is seriously trying to gather two-thirds majority in support of the under discussion constitution amendment proposal.

He added, “If the main opposition party CPN-UML supports, the constitution will be amended before the third phase of local level election slated for September 18 in Province 2.”

He also appealed the dissatisfying and agitating parties to participate in the election.