This is perhaps one of the few activities of the government that is actually being fast-tracked so the inner sanctum of the temple has the expensive gold pendant in time for Shivaratri on 11 March.
Pashupati was not the first time Oli dropped a surprise. A former secretary says the prime minister’s habit of making ad hoc spur of the moment decisions from Baluwatar without consulting experts is wasteful. Only Oli’s adviser and confidante Bishnu Rimal is said to have the prime minister’s ear on most matters.
Giriraj Mani Pokhrel, a former minister in the Oli administration, recalls many such impulsive decisions at Cabinet meetings that went against the government’s own strategy.
Even former Finance Minister Yuvraj Khatiwada, a workaholic who prefers to keep strict office hours, has criticised the ‘out-of-office’ culture of the prime minister and his Cabinet colleagues.
Another senior government official told Nepali Times said the state machinery was in complete disarray due to the prime minister’s lackadaisical attitude towards governance. Not only has Oli been out of touch with his ministers, but the ministers are also not discussing important issues with their secretaries, thus disrupting the entire chain of communication within Singha Darbar.
“Because the PMO in Baluwatar functions as a parallel seat of government, morale is very low in Singha Darbar,” the official says.
Former Finance Secretary Shantaraj Subedi says ministers have the responsibility of carrying through the government’s programs, managing the budget and making policy decisions. “If the minister does not show up, and does not take his work seriously, there will be no result,” Subedi says.
Most ministers these days do not even bother to come to Singha Darbar. They either work from their residences, or are attending political rallies in support of the prime minister, or planning them with their cronies.