Today, my day started off on a very happy note. I had to withdraw a largish sum from the ATM, and had no problem at all in doing so, in three lots, since there’s a limit as to how much can be withdrawn at a time. I remember well my situation several years ago when I had gone to Delhi. For one entire day, my debit card didn’t work, and when I called my bank in Kathmandu, they told me that there was some problem that would be sorted out only the next day. Many times, also, in Kathmandu itself, I’ve had to face problems due to ATMs not working properly.
The above wasn’t the only reason for putting me in a happy mood. Yesterday, the internet guy called me to politely remind me that my monthly payment was due, so I went today to pay it. I told the girl at the counter that I would be going away for a month-and-a-half the following week, and what should I do. She told me that I should pay the month’s due, and send an email to them the day I was leaving, so that my service would be on hold for the period of my absence, and would be reconnected the day of my return, with the balance adjusted accordingly.
The above two examples are symptomatic of the positive changes taking place in Nepal. The private sector seems to be on the right track, making good efforts to provide excellent services. How one wishes the public sector would follow likewise! I hate going to public service offices to get some work done. The long queues at the passport office, the chaotic scenes at the driving license center, the indifferent attitude of civil servants in other offices—these have become routine, giving trouble aplenty to citizens.
I do not understand why many more counters cannot be opened at such places, after all, these are where people come to pay taxes, fees, and such, and so wouldn’t it make sense to make everything more convenient and speedy? Besides, a lot of new employment would be created, this in a country where thousands are migrating abroad every day to work. Or, how about handing these services over to the private sector?
Nepal Airlines, once the proud flag carrier, but later earning the tag of most corrupt organization, is struggling to make a comeback of sorts, while private airlines are doing great. As are the two dozen or so international carriers merrily transporting thousands of Nepali workers to and fro on the Kathmandu-Middle East route. And, though it’s been mentioned too many times already, we all know what happened to numerous government-run public service organizations, most of which required no investment at all, built as they were by foreign donor nations.
A bit away from the subject; Turkish Airlines is one of the most successful airlines operating here currently. They have a facility called E-Visa, whereby if you are going to Turkey, you can apply online or at their office, and it’s available immediately. The cost is just twenty-five dollars. Perhaps Nepal should follow suit, which would mean no long waiting lines at the airport. Turkey is strong on tourism promotion, Nepal, too, is a tourism-centric country, so it makes very good sense indeed!