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Transport Syndicate: Govt starts process to form task force

- CHANDAN KUMAR MANDAL, Kathmandu

May 10, 2018-

The government has moved ahead with formation of a task force as per the agreement reached with the transport entrepreneurs, putting an end to the stalemate between the two sides.

According to Madhusudan Adhikari, secretary at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT), the ministry has already started working on different aspects of the proposed committee.

“Immediately after the agreement, we have begun internal homework about the formation of the committee,” said Adhikari, adding that the ministry is currently finalising task force’s terms of references. The task force was envisaged after the agreement between the government officials and the Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs (FNNTE)—the umbrella organisation of transport operators leading the protest against the government move for uprooting cartels in the public transport sector.

Following the government’s crackdown, including scrapping of route permits of defiant vehicle operators and booking of those involved in enforcing public transport strike, the transport operators have agreed to resolve issues through a committee.

The proposed seven-member task force will have two MoPIT officials, Director General of the Department of Transport Management (DoTM), DIG from Traffic Police, two independent experts and a legal expert. The ministry has yet to formally declare the committee and names of the members.

The committee, to be led by a joint-secretary at the transport ministry, would help in addressing various issues that are pending for years. “The task force will explore ways to find a long-term solution to address these issues. It will make recommendations for resolving issues that need immediate attention,” said Adhikari. The task force has 30 days to submit its recommendations on vehicle routes, fares, bus park management, insurance, standard code of conduct for vehicle operators and their staff, dress codes, condition of vehicles, compensation, and e-ticketing, Secretary Adhikari said.

Raising serious concern about insurance of passengers, the government has called for an insurance plan to cover treatment of injured passengers in case of road accidents. The FNNTE’s decision not to pay for treatment of those involved in road accidents anymore has raised a serious concern about treatment of injured passengers.

“As we have been accused of promoting syndicate, the government should now take up all the responsibilities, including treatment of injured passengers. We are not doing anything anymore,” warned FNNTE President Yogendra Nath Karmacharya.The government, however, claims that there would not be any problem in treatment of those injured in road accidents.

“There is an insurance coverage of Rs300,000 for injured. There seems to be a confusion over what will happen if the treatment cost goes up, but good treatment can still be offered at the existing amount except in few cases,” said Adhikari.

Representatives of the agitating transport committees, which had amassed billions of rupees over the years, have been putting forth medical costs in defence of the need for such committees and not paying taxes. They claim they had spent around Rs5.5 million to treat passengers injured in road accidents.

Published: 10-05-2018 08:25

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