House panel directive puts DoTM in dilemma

  • Dept asked to set up Vehicle Fitness Test Centres in 7 provinces in a month
- SANJEEV GIRI, Kathmandu

Aug 22, 2017-

In a move that hightlights lack of homework, the Development Committee of the Legislature-Parliament on Monday directed the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) to establish Vehicle Fitness Test Centre in all seven provinces within a month. 

The House committee’s decision comes at a time when the only such facility in the country is sitting idle for  over six years. 

Although the government had planned to bring the VFTC into operation in Kathmandu in 2009, the facility was established only in April this year. The centre has yet to begin its operation yet. 

Given the circumstance, officials at the DoTM say, it would be difficult to comply with the House directive. “It isn’t technically possible to establish such centres in seven provinces within a month,” said an official, adding that they had apprised the House panel about the situation during a recent meeting. 

The DoTM maintains that finalisation of the provincial capitals and demarcation of state boundaries are prerequisites for setting up such centres. 

That will pave the way for the process of land acquisition, procurement of equipment and construction of site, among others, according to the DoTM. The land acquisition is considered among the most difficult tasks in undertaking projects, the officials said. 

The DoTM estimates it would cost at least Rs2 billon for establishing a single test centre. “First of all, we don’t have enough budget to pursue the project. Even if the budget is allocated, I doubt we could complete the task,” a DoTM official said, requesting anonymity. “At best, what we can possibly do this fiscal year is conduct a feasibility study provided that the Finance Ministry allocates us with the resources. 

The official said it would take at least a year to bring the existing facility in Kathmandu into operation. The Teku-based centre still lacks many equipment. The World Bank has injected $50,000 to bring the centre into operation within this fiscal year.

The test centre, armed with sophisticated equipment, tests vehicles for their road worthiness aimed at enhancing their efficiency and reduce the traffic accidents. The centre conducts comprehensive checks on the state of vehicles, such as emission, and condition of chassis, brakes, horns, headlights, suspension and wheel load using a computerised system, helping the government do away with physical and manual inspection of vehicles.

The Transportation Management Act 1993 has made it mandatory for public vehicles to be checked every six months and private vehicles once a year. However, till now vehicle inspections are performed manually without the use of any technology. The vehicle fitness test conducted by the DoTM will require a public motor vehicle to pass a compulsory periodic inspection to determine safety and roadworthiness.

Published: 22-08-2017 07:47

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