The government has enforced a ban on public vehicles crossing 20 years of operation throughout the country from Thursday.
The Cabinet meeting held on March 14, 2016 had decided to ban 20-year-old public vehicles as per the policy of displacing the old ones within two years.
The Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport had set up a five-year plan for development of road, rail and transportation for prosperous Nepal.
The Department of Transport Management (DoTM), issuing a notice, had said that public vehicles, that are over 20 years, would be seized and put in auction if found operating from March 15 onward.
However, General Secretary of National Federation of Nepal Transport Entrepreneurs’, the umbrella organization of transport entrepreneurs, Saroj Sitaula argued that the government’s decision of banning old public vehicles is unscientific and irrelevant. He defiantly added that old public vehicles will be kept in operation.
“We have written to the DoTM stating that this rule is unscientific on February 27. But we have not yet received any response from there,” Sitaula told Setopati, “Who will give services to commuters from distant places and what about the workers being employed in these old vehicles?”
Sitaula said that he would inform all the stakeholders including Prime Minister about this matter. “Old vehicles will certainly ply. If there’s any intervention from the government, we will announce a phase-wise agitation,” he said.
Meanwhile, Director General of DoTM Roop Narayan Bhattarai claimed that the decision taken by the government will be implemented at any cost.
“There’s no meaning in saying that government’s decision is unscientific. This is a government decision taken on the basis of report submitted by technical committee. If this is unscientific, they should come up with report after conducting a study,” Bhattarai added.
The DoTM has formed at least 27 monitoring teams across the country.
“The team will begin monitoring vehicles from 7 am outside the Kathmandu Valley whereas it will start from 10 am inside the Valley. We’ve already displaced the old vehicles in Kathmandu last year but the monitoring teams have been deputed at four different places to check if vehicles entered mistakenly from borders,” he said.
The DoTM estimates that at least 10,000 vehicles are 20-year-old or older. Meanwhile, the transport entrepreneurs have claimed that 8,000 such vehicles are in operation.