Legal provision ‘hinders’ plan to replace old vehicles

- NIRMALA ADHIKARI, Kathmandu
Legal provision ‘hinders’ plan to replace old vehicles

Jul 16, 2014-

Though the the government first envisioned a plan to replace vehicles older than twenty years plying on the Valley roads over a decade ago, the initiative still remains unimplemented.

Officials at the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) say the reason behind the failure to implement the policy is that the idea was just floated and wasn’t made mandatory. “In order to make the policy mandatory, amendments are to be made in the Transport Management Act,” said DoTM Director Sharad Adhikari.

In 2000, with the vision to decrease pollution and consumption of fuel, the government had published a notice stating that vehicles older than twenty years would be removed from the Kathmandu valley and relocated to other districts where they could be operated for the next five years. The government then claimed that it pitched the plan in order to review the existing transport policy.

Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) estimates that around 16,000 public vehicles across the country are twenty years and older. Considering the change of ownership also a major cause to hinder this ambitious plan, the government also prohibited registration or transfer of ownership of such vehicles a decade ago.

Adhikari also emphasized on the cooperation with vehicle owners in order to implement the policy effectively. “Unless the transport entrepreneurs coordinate with us, the problem regarding the replacement of the old vehicles will never see light,” he said.

When the government formulated the policy to revise the National Transport Policy with a legal provision to replace the old vehicles, it was opposed by transport entrepreneurs and vehicle owners. In 2011, the Parliamentary Finance and Labour Relations Committee had also directed the government to remove such old public vehicles from the Valley roads.

The initiative, however, could not be implemented after the two concerned ministries—the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Labour and Transport Management—couldn’t reach an agreement over the compensation to be provided to the vehicle owners. The vehicle owners had demanded that the government had to reimburse 75 percent discount on the import duty to purchase new vehicles. Environmental experts say the outdated vehicles have been a huge burden for the Valley roads.

According to Bhusan Tuladhar, an environment expert, the older vehicles create more pollution and consume additional fuel. “Various environmental problems arise due to the wear and tear of old vehicles. Hence, the government should implement certain standard to replace the polluting vehicles.”

Published: 17-07-2014 08:40

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