July 11, 2017
Responding to the issue over consideration of a fresh proposal to purchase new presidential fleet, the Prime Minister of Nepal, Sher Bahadur Deuba, on Tuesday said, “The government has not received any proposal for purchasing expensive vehicles.”
However, “it is the responsibility of the government to manage the security of the president and for which, the government can buy new vehicles as per the need,” he added.
PM’s remarks come at a time when the Government of Nepal is likely to consider a fresh proposal to purchase new presidential fleet, while dozens of high-end car models are lying abandoned at the parking lots of various government offices.
The President Office is said to have sent a proposal to the Ministry of Defense seeking approval for the new presidential fleet, along with an additional budget of Rs 120 million, along with already allotted Rs 40 million, for the purchase. The proposal is made despite the presence of eight luxury cars currently at the President’s disposal, that too in functional state.
Besides these, the President is also using an armored stretched Jaguar XJ and a Mercedes Benz E-Class W210 Bullet Proof Car.
Whereas, Hari Dawadi, chief of the management sub-division at the President’s Office, asserted of having no new vehicles at the Office, and said that the President was using only old vehicles passed on by her predecessor.
As per the sources, the Government of Qatar had gifted eight new Mercedes-Benz E-Class and one Mercedes-Benz jeep to the Government of Nepal, upon the latter’s request. In total, around ten cars gifted by Qatar and South Korea are likely to be present at the President’s Office.
Besides, in June 2004, the Government of Nepal had also purchased nine new bullet-proof cars at a cost of Rs 280 million, and only three of those are currently in use.
Around five dozen cars, in functional state and left unused, were found at parking lots of various government offices, including PMO, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the garage of Narayanhiti Palace, and Army headquarters. Narayanhiti Palace alone has more than two dozen cars dumped in its premises.
According to the Finance Ministry, various abandoned expensive cars can also be seen at the country’s administrative center, Singha Durbar.
Two dozen cars in working condition were found to be left unused at the offices of various ministries, and more than 100 cars used by the high-profile officials like Prime Minister were left unused.
If agreed, the new proposal will make Nepal’s presidential fleet costlier than the fleet of any other country, even the ones with more security challenges than Nepal.