No taxi subsidy for quake survivorsThe government has decided not to extend subsidy to the earthquake survivors who have acquired a permit to operate taxicab in Kathmandu valley.
The government has decided not to extend subsidy to the earthquake survivors who have acquired a permit to operate taxicab in Kathmandu valley.
A meeting comprising of several government agencies including the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Department of Transport Management (DoTM) and National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) among others made the decision stating that such move would illustrate a disparity towards a large number of survivors of 2015 Gorkha Earthquake who didn’t participate in the process.
The government, through the cabinet decision, had decided to provide 1,500 taxi operating licences to the quake victims from 14 of the worst affected districts to help them provide a means of income in June 2016. Subsequently, the DoTM in July 2016, started accepting applications and was flooded with around 149,000 applications for 1,500 new taxicab permit.
According to DoTM, the unprecedented response in the sheer number of applications was due to a misconception amongst quake survivors that the government would provide subsidy for purchasing a taxi.
Quake survivors of 14 districts also formed a pressure group urging the government to come up with a scheme that can help licence holders to purchase a taxi.
“We held numerous meeting with several government agencies and concluded that it won’t be fair to offer subsidy to the licence holders of taxicab,” said Rup Narayan Bhattarai, director general at the DoTM, adding that the government agencies like NRA have been working in the local level to uplift the overall status of quake survivors in the concerned districts and that the scheme of taxi was launched just to ensure that the victims an opportunity to revive their economic status.
The DoTM awarded permits to 491 quake survivors from Kavrepalanchwok, Nuwakot and Ramechhap districts, 513 permits to quake survivors from Dolakha, Sindhuli and Sindupalchok districts and 496 taxi operating permits to Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Makawanpur, Dhading, Okhaldhunga, Gorkha and Rasuwa districts last week.
While the government has made it clear that they won’t be providing financial support in the process of buying taxi, automobile dealers and financial institutions are stepping forward to extend loans of up to 80 percent.
This will make it easier for quake survivors to buy a new taxi. Although Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has made it mandatory for those applying for auto loans to make a down-payment of at least 50 percent of the value of the vehicle, the provision doesn’t apply for commercial passenger vehicles. Major automobile sellers of brands like Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Tata and Toyota among others have geared up to tap the demand for commercial passenger vehicles.
Vehicles like Maruti Suzuki Alto, Hyundai Eon, Ford Figo, Ford Fiesta and Toyota Etios Liva J&G among others come in the price range of Rs1.5 million to Rs3 million. Automobile industry will see business of around Rs3 billion if average price of taxi cab is estimated to stand at Rs2 million.
According to the DoTM, there are currently 8,500 taxis on the streets of the Kathmandu Valley including the 2,850 new taxi cabs registered last year. An addition of 1,500 taxis is expected to ease public transportation in the country’s capital city.