Former King’s property in abandoned state, property worth billions, income ‘nominal’

Gajendra Basnet

November 5, 2019

8 MIN READ

Former King’s property in abandoned state, property worth billions, income ‘nominal’
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KATHMANDU: Property worth billions belonging to late King Birendra Shah and his family has been in neglected condition due to the irresponsibility and negligence of the ‘Nepal Trust’.

Nepal Trust was formed to bring the property of King Birendra, Queen Aishwarya, and their family under the Government of Nepal and to use it for the welfare of the nation.

Although some tenants enjoying the property in ‘nominal’ rent in the capital are paying some amount, income generated by the property worth billions of rupees is insignificant.

Although the provision regarding the ‘Utilization of the Property of the Trust’ states that the property of the Trust shall be utilized in the way it serves greater and the best public interest esp. to establish and operate educational or academic institution like school, college, university, etc. or provide donation for the operation of such institution; and to establish public medical institute such as hospital or health post and to operate such institute in the manner as prescribed’, the property is not regulated and utilized as such.

The Nepal Trust Regulation, 2065 BS has further elaborated the Act stating that the income can be utilized ‘To establish medicine bank in the remote area, arrange for hospice or shelter for the senior citizens and/or ‘dying’ people.’ However, no initiations are noticed in this regard as well.

Unfortunately, the Trust has no clear vision on how to utilize the property worth billions of rupees.

The office of the Nepal Trust which was established on Mangsir 6, 2064 and came to operation since then, has passed its twelve years. The Trust has managed to collect 750 million rupees and has got it deposited in various banks in Kathmandu. It bags 90 million per year as the rent of the property.

Although the law requires the Trust to use the cash ‘in the best public interest’, Gajendra Kumar Thakur, the secretary of Nepal Trust confesses, they have failed to work as per the provision.

He blames former provision and says, “Then it was difficult to execute any decision as the board of directors was very big, now it’s small enough to work efficiently, so things will be better soon.”

 What does the law say?

Nepal Trust Regulation, 2065 has mentioned the education sector as the main sector for investment. The law demands that the property or the income from such property should be utilized to establish and operate educational or academic institutions like school, college or university.

Similarly, the Regulations says that the fund can be utilized to provide a donation or scholarships to the students from poor families or students from remote and back warded regions who have scored higher grades in school level certificate examinations and are eager to pursue technical education ahead.

Besides, the Regulations says, “The donation can be utilized to construct or renovate the public schools of or remote areas, to conduct pedagogical or subject-wise training that shall nurture the quality promotion of the public schools and their teachers.”

Similarly, Clause 5(2, b) of Nepal Trust Act, 2064 BS states that the income of the Trust can be utilized ‘To establish public medical institutes such as hospital or health post and to operate such institute in the manner as prescribed.’

The Nepal Trust Regulation, 2065 BS has further elaborated the Act stating that the income can be utilized ‘To establish medicine bank in the remote area, arrange for hospice or shelter for the senior citizens and/or ‘dying’ people.’ However, no initiations are noticed in this regard as well.

How much is the property worth?

Nepal Trust has land and property in 12 districts. According to Gajendra Thakur, the Secretary at the Trust’s Office, 21 thousand 5 hundred and 62 ropani land spread in 216 plots of 12 districts has been brought under the ownership of the Trust.

In addition to it, the Trust has the 2 lakh 30 thousand 102 kitta (unit) share in three different institutions. The Trust has 377.95 million rupees in its fixed account whereas it has 17.238 million rupees in the current and savings accounts of four different banks.

The business people of the area say that a single shutter there can be rented at 50 to 80 thousand rupees per month. The Standard Charter Bank building, Lazimpat and many others are also enjoying such property.

In foreign currency, it has 48 thousand 4 hundred 66 pounds sterling and 137 thousand US dollars in its account. It has been generating revenue worth more than 90 million rupees every year.

 The trust’s property used at a nominal rent

Most of the places, now under the ownership of Nepal Trust are being used at a peppercorn rate.
Due to the lack of plan and vision on the side of Nepal Trust Office, many private institutions are enjoying the high-demand places at a nominal rate.

Gokarna Forest Resort pays hardly 2 million per month for 3 thousand 9 hundred 71 ropani land it has been using. It’s a remarkably low rate of payment provided the worth of such location is considered.

Similarly, Business Park at Teku, one of the busiest places in the capital pays 333 thousand rupees a month for the land and structure stretched in the 19 ropani 12 Aana area. Kathmandu Plaza at Kamaladi, Soaltee Outer Complex at Kamaladi, are also enjoying the benefit of the inefficient and visionless Trust authority as they pay 6.2 million rupees and 1.287 million rupees per month for the complexes occupying 5 ropani 2 anna and 5 Ropani 6 Aana respectively.

The business people of the area say that a single shutter there can be rented at 50 to 80 thousand rupees per month. The Standard Charter Bank building, Lazimpat, and many others are also enjoying such property.

Yedu Prasad Panthi, former Secretary of the Trust Office says, “It happened to be so as most of the lease contracts were made long before.” Confessing that the Trust has to forbear a big loss in the current rate, Gajendra Thakur, incumbent Secretary at the Trust Office promises to make it more reasonable and relevant while renewing those contracts signed before.

The plot situated at Tinkune, Sallaghari Bhaktapur, Kanti Ishwori Ghar of Hetauda, Ratnamandir of Pokhara, Diyalo Bangala of Chitwan, etc. are not in use these days, hence, they have zero contribution to the Trust income.

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