Wednesday, September 25, 2013

NOC employees, protesting detaination of their colleges, halt fuel supply

After anti-graft body detained their bosses yesterday, the state oil monopoly employees today halted distribution of petroleum products – protesting the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority and arguing that the decision to distribute bonus was justifiable – eventually hitting the public.
The Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) trade unions – the NOC Independent Employees’ Union, Nepal National Employees’ Union of NOC and NOC Employees Association – neither received nor distributed fuel today, but organised a press meet and warned of series of protest programmes.
The unions of Nepal Oil Corporation – that has an accumulated loss of over Rs 28.50 billion and outstanding loans worth over Rs 28 billion – also claimed that the issue of bonus distribution has been blown out or proportion.
NOC Employees Association president Devi Prasad Neupane, on the occasion, defended the bonus distribution. “The decision was endorsed by the NOC board,” he claimed. “The corporation has also paid Rs 5.76 million to the government as a tax for the bonuses.”
“We are compelled to bring protest programmes as our colleagues have been arrested, while distributing bonus as per the existing laws,” he said, adding that the CIAA has demoralised them by arresting their colleagues.
The CIAA yesterday arrested three senior NOC employees, including acting managing director Suresh Kumar Agrawal, for distributing bonus to employees flouting the anti-graft body’s direction and legal provision.
The NOC employees, however, resumed fuel supply after 3 pm, after Ministry of Commerce and Supplies’ intervention.
The NOC board on August 4, under pressure from the employees, had endorsed distribution of Rs 198.8 million – equivalent to around 17 months of total salary of NOC staff – in bonus from the profit of Rs 3.31 billion it generated in the fiscal year 2008-09, though it has been accumulating losses after 2008-09.
The board had also earmarked Rs 184.89 million as housing allowance for the employees, whereas it has already distributed Rs 17.28 million in bonuses.
The technically bankrupt state oil monopoly had posted profit in the fiscal year 2008-09, but red-tapism, corruption and mismanagement have pushed the institution to around Rs 1.62 billion monthly loss.


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