Saved from flooding, National Vigilance Centre lab yet to come into operationOfficials say no effort has been made to prevent inundation of the flooding
Three months ago, when officials at the National Vigilance Centre arrived at the lab set up in an underground area of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, they found rainwater flooding the basement.
Officials said the equipment purchased by the centre at a cost of nearly 10 million rupees was nearly damaged. A weekend rainfall in July had resulted in the flooding of the lab.
“They lab equipment remained safe because they had been kept on a higher surface. Had there been one more holiday, the equipment would have been useless,” said Dal Nath Aryal, assistant spokesperson for the Vigilance Centre.
The centre, under the Prime Minister’s Office, monitors irregularities at the hands of government servants and recommends action against them to the relevant agency and the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority.
According to Aryal, nothing was done to ensure that the lab remains safe from future flooding. “There is a leakage that leads floodwaters to the underground space,” he said. “Even water from around the Prime Minister’s Office floods the lab.”
Flooding was not a problem until last year, according to the centre, which has sent two letters to the Singha Durbar Reconstruction Committee to make arrangements for the lab’s safety.
The underground area where the lab is situated was originally built for parking. But the government later decided to set up the lab there.
The centre had purchased lab equipment from Enkay Enterprises, a New Delhi-based supplier, more than three years ago. But it took more than a year to install the equipment, initially due to the lack of office space and then a delay by the supplier in sending a team to install them, according to the centre.
Even after the installation, the lab faced a crunch of skilled staff, which has kept the lab out of operation till now.
Six months ago, the centre hired three technical staff on a contract basis until the Public Service Commission recruits permanent staff. However, the centre, officials say, is still busy with the paperwork to get a quality certificate for the lab from the Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology, so that its findings are accepted by courts.