10 vehicles booked for breaching rule

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Apr 9, 2017-The traffic police have booked only 10 public transport vehicles that are over 20 years old since the ban on use of two-decade old public vehicles in the Kathmandu Valley was enforced in March. 

Of the vehicles booked by the traffic police, four are Safa tempos (electric three-wheelers), three are taxis, two mini trucks and a bus. In line with the government instruction, traffic police are currently monitoring old buses, mini buses, micro buses, pickups, cabs and other motor vehicles bearing public licence plates. The ban does not apply to private vehicles. 

Before the ban was enforced, the number of over 20-year-old vehicles operating in the Valley was estimated to hover around 2,500.

“It is now apparent that most of the old vehicles have been removed from the streets, thanks to the support extended by the private sector,” Tok Raj Pandey, spokesperson of Department of Transport Management (DoTM), said. “This indicates the government was successful in implementing its decision to phase out old vehicles.”

The decision to remove 20-year-old vehicles from the roads was taken by the Cabinet two years ago. The cabinet meeting had authorised the DoTM to implement the decision. However, the office had not been able to immediately implement it due to strong opposition from transportation entrepreneurs. 

Since the government has not been able to create a robust public transport system in the country, it often succumbs to the private sector’s pressure.

“Despite the delay, we were able to finally implement the decision,” Pandey said. 

The vehicles that have been phased out from the Valley cannot be used elsewhere in the country. Also, ownerships of such vehicles cannot be transferred. “There is no alternative but to scrap such vehicles,” Pandey said, adding, the government won’t provide compensation to owners of such vehicles as they have recovered their costs by using them for 20 years. 

The DoTM, however, said it would reissue route permits if owners have replaced old vehicles with new ones.

The government had decided to get rid of old vehicles stating they were responsible for growing air pollution, environmental degradation, and road congestions and accidents. According to the DoTM, old vehicles guzzle more gasoline and have higher maintenance cost. Likewise, motor vehicle emission accounts for 40 percent of the air pollution in the Valley. 

Chief of Metropolitan Police Traffic Division Deputy Inspector General Mingmar Lama said his team is strictly monitoring use of over 20-year-old vehicles. “We are doing our best to keep old vehicles out of the streets,” Lama said. “As only 10 such vehicles have been booked so far, we believe most of them have been removed from the streets.” 

The government is mulling over introducing the same policy in other major cities across the country. By mid-March 2018, the government aims to remove over 20-year-old vehicles from across the country. In the next phase, the government will phase out outdated private vehicles.

Published: 09-04-2017 08:05

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