Skip to content

Unmanaged Management

– Laxmi Prasad Paudel

In the wake of federalism, the provincial government institutions have started delivering their services to the citizens for the first time in Nepal. Except those of local-level services, all other services are delivered by the provincial forms and its offices.

Along with service delivery, many developmental works are also being undertaken by the provincial governments. In this article, I am sharing my experiences regarding the unsteady service delivery of the office whose name has management as its suffix.

Actually, I initiated my writing thinking about people’s perspective on service delivery of federal/provincial and local-level public institutions as I have just written a blog regarding Red-tapism at District Administration Office in Surkhet. I was considering writing about the easiness of service delivery at local-level institutions particularly ward offices and peoples’ responses to them.

For that, I went to the ward office of Birendranagar Municipality-1 and collected some essentials by talking to representatives, service staff, and customers as well, and also took some photographs.

It was the story that turned me and compelled writing this article after hearing about the hurdles faced by one of my familiar brothers at the Transportation Management Office (TMO) in Surkhet. By mixing my experiences too at the TMO some weeks before, I am writing this article with the intention of reforming it.

The Transportation Management Office is situated at Birendranagar, Surkhet also the provincial capital of Karnali. TMO has been providing services to the people from Surkhet, Dailekh, Salyan, Jajarkot, Rukum (West), and Dolpa districts. TMO at Jumla is responsible for services to the people from Jumla, Kalikot, Mugu, and Humla districts. The two TMOs are operating under the provincial Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Urban Development in Karnali.

TMO Surkhet is close to the premises of the ministry and the Office of the Chief Minister and Council of Ministers (OCMCM). Despite the closeness of the regulatory institution, TMO Surkhet seems messy and customers come across indefinite difficulties and nobody cares. Former minister Ammar Bahadur Thapa once visited the office and gave orders to manage the office.

Former Chief Minister of Karnali Mr. Jiwan Bahadur Shahi also visited the office just after taking an oath of office and vowed to change the status. Now the chief minister and ministers have been changed but the status of the TMO remained unchanged.

TMO Surkhet has been providing services regarding examinations of driving licenses and their distribution, renewal of licenses, vehicle inspection and renewal of bluebook, providing route permits, fare determination, and others.

Some weeks before, I was there for paying my vehicle taxes. It took the whole day for me to complete the process. I went here and there over 20 times to visit the different departments in different rooms. Wherever I went I faced every single line to proceed on. Initially, I came across a long queue to inquire about the total amount of taxes that I had to pay. It was half an hour that I got just a single piece of information.

Next, I proceeded through another line to the bank where I was supposed to deposit the dues. It took another 30 minutes to complete the process. I was on the third line to receive a receipt by depositing a bank voucher. Finally, I went through other official processes. For that, I spent a whole sunny day sweating and waiting all the time.

I, as a dweller of Birendranagar, spend one whole business day on this service. It is obvious that the customers from other districts have to spend at least three days as they include their travel to and fro their home districts. During the day I saw a few customers taking services from outsiders by paying some hundred as a service charge.

That day, I was wandering at the TMO thinking that it should have managed better than this by making the office more easy and accessible and by adding some more staff. A question came across my mind ‘What a hurdle and messy management at the office where people do come to pay their taxes?’ I just started thinking about alternative services.

I just dreamt of an online service at the TMO. Nonetheless, I have to come to this office again and endure the same endeavors.

Once at TMO, I had gone through the same red-tapism while receiving my driving license. At that time I thought that I would never come back to this office again. Unfortunately, I have to come here again. I am scared of the mismatch of policy and practice.

People’s representatives vow with big jargon that they will manage the things where people need great reforms while taking their oaths. General people only aspire for ease of procedures adopted in public offices.

They need more service staff in offices with busy businesses.
TMO Surkhet is just the alternative to its previous office located in Nepalgunj though the customers need improvised service.

(Writer works at Hriti Foundation as a research officer)