Sharada Prasad Trital, may not be a household name in the country, but he is a seasoned bureaucrat who has remained an actor and witness to key political transitions. He has spent at least a quarter of his service tenure of 34 years in the Prime Minister’s office working for four of them.
He also served in the President’s secretariat for fourteen months as secretary when Ram Baran Yadav became the First President of the country.
But he is more famous or well-known now as a whistle blower when he headed the probe into what is now known as Baluatar or Lalita Niwas Land scam. Trital stands out as an exemplary bureaucrat who has never been tied to any abuse or scandal. He appeared as a guest in Desh Sanchar Chautari and delved into his experiences and outlooks.
“I have never inked any decision not permissible by law,” he avows. He recalls some incidents of outright rejection of pressures for such proposals and threats and transfers because of his refusals.
Responding to a query whether there has been erosion in the authenticity of the Prime Minister he said he believes that the role of prime minister has two facets – scope and nature. The scope of work is as broad as anywhere else in the world that follows similar political systems. But the way they work–or don’t work–there are too many shortcomings.
He says if any one as Prime Minister had worked for the cause of the nation, its fate or transformation would have been different. A prime minister working merely few hours a day would be sufficient to govern well, but his experience is that most don’t work even half an hour a day on the average.
What’s even more absurd is the unnecessary position the prime ministers hold. He said to take the instances of the chancellor of Universities including that of Tribhuvan University. He pities that the university under the chancellorship of PM has only slided downward since prime ministers started leading the institution. It would be better if anyone capable led the institution.
He shares displeasure at the way the Constitutional Council (CC) is functioning. The CC is a powerful institution without parallel in the country as far its composition is concerned. What should we do if all the VVIP together make the wrong decision? CC has turned into a principal mechanism responsible for undermining the constitutional bodies including the courts.
“Corruption is the biggest threat that has eaten into the vitals of the system and all the vital organs of the state,” he adds, “if this continues then there won’t be anything except corruption as long as the country exists.” He attributes powerful and political parties affiliated trade unions as the culprits that have eroded effectiveness of the governmental system. A government secretary might not be able to meet a minister for years but even low-level personnels at a trade union have direct access at their will.
He praises the investigation teams at both the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) and Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) for their dedicated work put into the investigation of the Lalita Niwas Land scam. However, he believes the arbitrariness that followed in prosecution had major flaws. “Rule of law has become mere lip service, powerful ones enjoy impunity and this has been proved more brazenly time and again,” he reiterates.
His word of wisdom is that transparent and optimum utilization of available resources alone can enhance performance multiple folds.