Banepa residents scatter transport cartelBanepa residents and bus commuters united as one group on Monday and scattered a cartel of transporters that had planned to block traffic 9 am onwards on Araniko Highway for one hour.
Banepa residents and bus commuters united as one group on Monday and scattered a cartel of transporters that had planned to block traffic 9 am onwards on Araniko Highway for one hour.
Their blockade did not last even 30 minutes as irate residents descended on the cartel of 13 operators protesting the Department of Transport Management’s (DoTM) decision to grant route permit to Mayur Yatayat, said a traffic officer.
Speaking to the Post, District Traffic Police Inspector Shekhar Jung Malla said, “Many local residents and bus passengers protested against the transport syndicate and disrupted their blockade plan.”
Similarly, a large posse of security personnel foiled the cartel’s plan to block vehicular movement for an hour in Koteshwor.
The DoTM decision to allow Mayur Yatayat to ply buses had annoyed the cartel. They demanded scraping its route permit.
On March 15, the department issued route permit to Mayur Yatayat to operate its 24 buses from Kalanki to Banepa. The ring route started from Banepa, Bhaktapur, Koteshwor, Ekantakuna, Balkhu-Kalanki, Balaju, Chakrapath, Chabahil, Gaushala, and back to Banepa. On Saturday, the DOTM published a notice that it would take stringent action against transporters who resisted the government’s decision to break a transport syndicate.
Banepa resident and Nepal Law College student Indralaxmi Ghimire told the Post, “The residents and passengers in a rare show of strength protested against the money minded bus owners. We are against this syndicate which does not care about bus passengers’ problem.”
Banepa senior citizen Ashok Thami, 71, also slammed the syndicate. “Mayur Yatayat offers better facilities for elderly people. Why doesn’t the syndicate compete with it by giving better facilities, instead of blocking traffic?”
Mayur Yatayat has started free transport facility for elderly people above age 70. It offers separate seats for women and pregnant women. It also gives 50 percent discount on bus fare, for differently able people.
The Yatayat currently operates 14 buses with 42 seats and remaining with 37 seats with video monitor that has live feed from CCTV digital cameras for security.
Passenger Rajlaxmi said, “Other private bus operators charge passengers Rs 45 to commute from Kathmandu to Banepa. “Mayur Yatayat charges Rs 35, plus they offer free Wi-Fi facility and the bus is comfortable. If transport operators protest this way, they will face public outcry.”
DoTM Director General Rupnarayan Bhattarai told the Post, “The government will take stringent action against vehicle operators. These operators are going against the law, but local residents today united to protest against their illegal acts.
“We will scrap the route permits of vehicles owned by the syndicate if they attempt to stop the free transport services offered by other owners.”
Mayur Yatayat Chairperson Mohan Shrestha said, “The syndicate has already broken half a dozen of our vehicles. We want to reform and transform the country’s transport system, but we the syndicate targets us. Now the public have given us their support. We hope the government will take action.”
The government has said it will take action against the syndicate. The Home Ministry on Monday directed the traffic police to keep a record of transport operators who obstruct free services offered by Mayur Yatayat.
Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Raghubir Mahaseth on Monday directed the DoTM not to go back on its earlier decision. He assured the ministry’s support to DoTM.
Earlier Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had directed the Transport Ministry and DoTM not to bow before the syndicate and take stringent action against it.