Free bus service to hospitals on cards

  • Move is expected to give patients some respite
- Anup Ojha, Kathmandu

Nov 18, 2015-

The government is all set to start free bus service targeting patients who have been finding it hard to reach hospitals in the wake of an acute fuel crisis which has badly impacted Valley’s transportation system. 

 The Ministry of General Administration this week onwards will mobilise 12 of its buses on routes leading to six major hospitals—Gangalal Heart Centre in Bansbari, TU Teaching Hospital in Maharajgunj, Bir Hospital, Civil Hospital in New Baneshwor, Patan Hospital and Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital—from 11 am to 3pm. 

The measure is expected to come as a great respite for those in need of reaching hospitals. Others can also avail themselves of the free service, said officials. 

“During public holidays, the ministry will provide free bus service along the said routes throughout the day, as they are very sensitive areas,” said Minister for General Administration Rekha Sharma. 

The ministry on Tuesday through its 13 buses provided free rides to Chhath pilgrims and others from Ring Road, Suryabinayak, Kalanki, Lagankhel and Chabahil to Ratnapark. According to officials, the ministry served more than 25,000 people with its free bus service during festivals. 

Twenty-nine-year-old Suren Neupane, who took a ministry-operated bus from Ratna Park to New Baneshwor, said he was happy to use the free bus service in this time of crisis. “It has been two weeks I have parked my motorbike at home. Since Tihar I have used the free bus service twice,” he said. 

The ministry is providing an additional Rs2,000 to driver and Rs1,500 to helper for working extra hours. The fuel shortage has badly affected public transport in the Capital, with a majority of vehicles standing in lines in front of fuel stations. A handful of the vehicles plying the roads can be seen sardined with passengers. With no option left, many are seen either clinging on to the doors or sitting on the roofs to reach their destinations. For those trying to reach hospitals, getting on these packed vehicles has become simply impossible. 

Nepal Army and Nepal Police too have been providing free transportation services for the commoners in view of the fuel crisis.

New drugs shipments via Sunauli

Nepal Chemists and Druggists Association has decided to order trucks carrying medicines and hospital supplies to enter via Sunauli—not Raxaul, where cargoes have been stuck for two months due to India’s blockade.

The umbrella organisation of medicine importers has initiated correspondence with Indian companies to send trucks towards Sunauli-Bhairahawa. 

Hospitals in Nepal are reeling under an acute shortage of medicines and other essential supplies due to the disruption in cargo movement.

NCDA clarified that the re-routing process is only for new consignments to be sent by Indian suppliers. For cargoes stuck on the border, the government would be approached to request the Indian side to permit their re-routing. At least 80 container trucks loaded with medicines and surgical appliances are piling on the border.

Of the 60 percent drugs that Nepal imports, 55 percent are produced by Indian companies, with the rest coming from Bangladesh, France and Switzerland. 

Published: 18-11-2015 08:24

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