Transport syndicate abolished in Rupandehi

- AMRITA ANAMOL, BUTWAL

Mar 19, 2018-Representatives of transport entrepreneurs have decided to stop syndicate practices in Rupandehi district. The decision was made during a meeting on Tuesday. It was hosted by the district police to settle disputes between Western Nepal Bus Entrepreneurs and Siddhartha Transport Entrepreneurs Committee. They had blamed each other for violating terms of their current syndicate system.

The meeting decided that transport entrepreneurs cannot engage in any kind of syndicate activities such as taking turns, queuing, odd-even and circular process. 

Representatives of five transport committees with central offices in Rupandehi, Nawalparasi and Kapilvastu districts participated in the meeting. The representatives agreed to operate buses freely and without obstacles. 

“Until now, only entrepreneurs were benefitting while consumers were deceived. They were forced to pay high fees, travel in old buses and travel in a cramped space. Abolition of syndicate system would lead to operation of better vehicles and prices for consumers,” said Treasurer of Consumers’ Right Protection Forum of the district.

The meeting also decided that all committees would not seek more fees from customers than declared by the government and that all committees would honour the decision without creating any commotion in the future. Another meeting is set to be held on March 19 to resolve outstanding concerns of entrepreneurs.

Sanjeev Roka, Chairman of Siddhartha Transport Entrepreneurs Committee said, “To operate a bus without a syndicate is beneficial for consumers but challenging for entrepreneurs.” He added, “Entrepreneurs with less investment could face problems. However, we should implement the decision to disallow transport syndicate as it has been abolished.”

There are 14 transport committees that mostly operate as a ‘syndicate’ in the Lumbini zone. They have been engaged in variety of syndicate practices according to the volume of vehicles and their market power. Transport committees that had long maintained syndicates defended their practices as a measure to reduce accidents and also as a measure to instil professionalism among entrepreneurs.

Supreme Court had ordered the abolition of transport syndicate from the country nearly seven years ago. To implement this decision, the government asked all district administration offices to implement the order to abolish all kinds of syndicate practices. The government authorised district administrations to revoke the registration of transport committees who did not oblige with requests.

Spokesperson and Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Dilli Narayan Pandey said that implementing syndicate by turn led to consumers facing deceptive charges. “In the future, a bus operator cannot stop, block or create any hurdle that resembles a syndicate. In the name of taking turns, a bus cannot be stopped at a place for a long time,” said DSP Pandey.

Chairman of Western Nepal Bus Entrepreneurs Association Dhadhi Ram Kharel said that the decision to allow entrepreneurs to operate bus at their own volition was a welcome move. “If the recent decision restores professional security among bus entrepreneurs, it should be taken as a welcome move.” 

Chief District Officer of Rupandehi Hari Prasad Mainali said that buses would be monitored to check if they carried out any syndicate practices and punitive measures would be exacted for violations. He said, “The unchecked authority of operating transportation and increased risk of accident is now subject to supervision and necessary punitive measures.”

Published: 19-03-2018 08:38

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