First vehicle test centre receives few clients

- Post Report, Kathmandu

May 14, 2017-The country’s only vehicle fitness centre, which came into operation in mid-April, bears a deserted look, as very few vehicle operators are visiting the facility to conduct complete health check-up of their automobile.

The government had set up a hi-tech Vehicle Fitness Test Centre (VFTC) in Teku to reduce cases of motor accidents by monitoring the health and roadworthiness of public vehicles. But the centre has monitored only 70 vehicles since it began its operation a month ago. The fitness test centre has the capacity to test 30 big and 30 small vehicles per day. 

The centre conducts complete health check-up of vehicles, such as emission, and condition of chassis, brakes, horns, headlights, suspension and wheel load using a computerised system. Prior to the establishment of the centre, the government used to check worthiness of vehicles manually before letting them ply on the streets. 

“Since the centre came into operation, we have been testing health condition of public buses that travel 250 kilometres or more at a time and micro buses. However, the response hasn’t been great,” said Ram Chandra Poudel, senior divisional engineer at the VFTC. “Even though it is mandatory for vehicles to get clearance from the centre every six months, the response is not as per our expectation.”

Micro buses plying on the roads of the Kathmandu Valley and long-distance buses that start their journey from or end their journey in Kathmandu must get clearance from the fitness test centre. The Department of Transport Management (DoTM) estimates presence of 2,500-3,000 such vehicles. 

“Considering this number, we were expecting brisk business as the centre is the only authorised body to conduct these tests. Sadly, that hasn’t happened,” Poudel said. But he is optimistic about the eventual rise in flow of clients, as vehicle permits cannot be renewed unless approval is extended by the fitness test centre. 

The centre was designed at a cost of Rs60 million and was supposed to come into operation as early as 2009. However, it took time for the centre to come into operation, because Nepal Transport Corporation, where the VFTC is located, failed to clear its due electricity bills worth Rs6 million, which rendered the facility without power. The centre, at that time, also faced problems related to staff recruitment and documentation. 

Because of the delay in opening of the centre, some of the equipment have worn away making them dysfunctional. 

“Since the centre was ready for operation in 2012, but remained idle for a long time, few equipment have become dysfunctional,” Poudel said. “But we are fixing those.” The World Bank is providing technical and financial assistance to repair those equipment.

As the road traffic in the Kathmandu Valley is continuously increasing, the DoTM is planning to open six more fitness test centres in the near future.

Published: 14-05-2017 08:46

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