The government and the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) are both playing a very unpalatable game of holding the consumers of POL products to ransom. The unjust price hikes of petroleum products very frequently have become too much to bear. The complicity part cannot be denied when the price of petrol is hiked within a short span of time. It just shows how the NOC is not qualified to run the oil monopoly. Yet, the government, instead of making an overall reform of the corporation, is simply basking on the glory of the subsidy policy and inefficient, incompetent and corrupt functioning of the NOC.
The government has approved this organisation, which by all means works without any obligation to the sense of accountability, allowing it to continue misleading the people for years. In fact, the consumers are forced to pay more for the vices that the oil corporation is adept in. Moreover, though the oil monopoly claims billions of rupees loss every year, there is evidence that its accounts are neither scientific nor up-to-date. It is a wonder that the corporation is running sans any system that governs the functioning of such a large entity. In fact, it is the government that is propping up the entity which is submerged in malpractices and misappropriation of funds. It has rightly been said that we are not paying for fuel but for the government subsidy and the incompetence of the NOC.
In all this, the private entrepreneurs dealing in petroleum products are reaping in profits leaving the consumers to fend for themselves. Even the government makes a hefty amount through the tax levied on the petroleum products. For example, the government levies Rs 34.12 tax on each litre of petrol, Rs 15.70 on each litre of diesel and Rs 237.85 on each cylinder of cooking gas. Moreover, the government is collecting interest expenses from the public. These all add to make the price of POL products expensive. And, the government tends to remain dumb when it is asked to reduce the taxes levied. This is plain evidence that unlike a welfare-oriented government, it has turned into a profit-making one which is against all norms. When the question of overhauling the whole system of NOC is concerned, the reform agenda gathers dust in some corner. The nexus between the NOC and the dealers and transporters is also too obvious because of the unnecessary perks that are given to them. Such freewheeling by the NOC transcends all norms of running a government corporation.
It must be a part of a conspiracy that the government is not thinking seriously about opening up the petroleum business to the private sector. Maybe those in power are benefitting from the loss-making NOC, so they do not want to lose the opportunity to rake in as much as they can. Reforms in the NOC would obviously mean a big loss to them, so they want to maintain the status quo for the corporation. This all adds up to the discomfiture of the people who are unnecessarily burdened by the corrupt functioning of the oil corporation. Every hike means hard times for the people by way of price hikes of every commodity in the market as well as increased transportation costs.
Incidents of leaked exams question papers have become common. This is not only frustrating for hardworking students but also puts a big question mark about the entire procedure of printing the question papers of the various universities. The latest such incident concerned the leaking of the question papers of the entrance exam for the Bachelor of Architecture, taken by the Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University. Apparently, the question papers had been printed at a private press. One of the staffs leaked the question paper for a lucrative amount. Even government printing presses are not free from such unethical practices.
The universities holding the exams should ensure tighter security at the various presses where the question papers are printed. This should figure among the priorities of the various universities and bodies holding exams so that the deserving examinees are not deprived of their fruit of labour. Cancelling the exams can be very exasperating for the students who have prepared diligently for the exams. The authorities should look into this and take remedial measures without delay and punish the culprits.