KMC burns petrol to promote ‘no horn’

  • Motorcycle rally widely criticised, including by health minister
- Anup Ojha, Kathmandu
Motorcycle rally to raise awareness about no horn rule draws flaks for adding to air pollution

Apr 28, 2017-The Kathmandu Metropolitan City’s ‘No horn’ motorcycle rally in the Capital on Thursday was widely criticised by environmentalists and officials, as the controversial ban on honking in the Valley launched two weeks ago has drawn mixed response.

The metropolis, in association with the Metropolitan Traffic Police Department (MTPD), organised the rally, with over 500 motorcyclists joining the bid to “spread the message” not to blow horn while driving. Immediately after the event followed a barrage of criticism on social media.

Health Minister Gagan Thapa condemned the rally as “highly irresponsible”. On Twitter, he requested the metropolitan authority to cancel the plan. “Given Kathmandu’s dangerous air quality, Mahanagarpalika’s motorcycle rally plan is public hazard, highly irresponsible. Cancellation urged,” he tweeted.

The KMC, in association with the MTPD, implemented the ‘No horn’ drive on April 14, to mitigate the menace of noise pollution in the city.

Talking to the Post, KMC Spokesperson Gyanendra Karki defended the move to make people aware. “We used our own office motorcycles and some volunteers used their own to create awareness of increasing ‘sound pollution’ in the Valley,” said Karki.

It was not possible to disseminate information all over the Valley in any other way, he added. “Every day, over one million vehicles ply the streets of Kathmandu. Why should this be an issue, when the KMC is using only 500 motorcycles in a rally to raise public awareness,” Karki asked.

Since the rule was introduced, traffic police claim that there has been a significant drop in the number of honkers. According to the MTPD, more than 2,500 drivers have been booked so far. The department claims that the number of traffic accidents in the Valley has dropped 40 percent after implementing the no-horn drive.

Environmentalist Bhusan Tuladhar also condemned the rally as the “metropolis’ great mistake”. “The metropolis could have organised a cycle rally, or a march in major parts of the city. This is a foolish act,” said Tuladhar.

In response to Karki’s question, he said, “What if we started throwing garbage everywhere saying Kathmandu already has piles of garbage. Kathmandu is already polluted, what kind of message does it deliver to commoners--carrying out a motorcycle rally by a government agency?” he questioned.

There have been mixed feelings about the new regulation. Although some sections of society have welcomed the drive, others have ridiculed it, in the face of the government failing to reduce increasing air pollution in the Valley.

Thursday’s programme was initiated by KMC Chief Executive Eshor Raj Poudel by riding a scooter from the Rastriya Sabha Griha, after the programme was inaugurated by Mingmar Lama, the MTPD chief.

The rally used two routes. The first started went round Sabha Griha, Anamnagar, Naya Baneshwor, Tinkune, Airport, Gaushala, Chabahil, Dhumbarahi, Durbar Marg and Ghantaghar. The second route started from Sabha Griha and went across Bhadrakali, Sahid Gate, Tripureshwor, Kalimati, Balkhu, Kalanki, Swayambhu, Banasthali, Balaju, Naya Bazaar, Lainchaur, Kesharmahal, Jamal and Ghantaghar.

Published: 28-04-2017 08:22

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