With odd-even rule lifted, Valley to see more traffic jamsBut newly installed traffic lights will provide respite to people using the road, traffic officials say.
After all three district administration offices of Kathmandu Valley officially announced the end of the odd-even rules from Friday, traffic flow in Kathmandu has considerably increased.
With the lifting of the rule that had been in force for the last four months in the Valley, denizens in the Valley will again face more traffic snarls, traffic officials said. The announcement to lift the restriction was made at a time when it’s implementation was being questioned by the members of the public who had begun to flout it..
“From Friday people have started to come out of their houses with their vehicles, and this will again add to the traffic jams on the roads of the Valley,” said Senior Superintendent of Police Janak Bhattarai, the newly appointed chief of Metropolitan Traffic Police Division.
According to the division, 2.49 million vehicles, both public and private (including two wheelers and four wheelers), had been kept on hold for breaching the odd-even rule during the four months the arrangement was in force. But the government lifted the rule this week following mounting pressure from transport entrepreneurs, who threatened to disobey the rules from Friday.
According to Superintendent Shyam Krishna Adhikari, spokesperson for the division, said that in normal times, over 1.2 million vehicles ply the road of Kathmandu every day. “We estimate that on Friday (the day when the odd and even rule was lifted), nearly 800,000 were on the road,” said Adhikari.
During the four months of the nationwide lockdown that started from March 24 and ended on July 21, the Valley’s roads were deserted. However, that didn’t deter the surge in Covid-19 cases in the Valley. The odd-even scheme was introduced following the lifting of the lockdown.
Traffic police say that although commuters can expect more traffic jams in the coming days, it will be less severe compared to the past as traffic signals have now been installed in various parts of the city. “This(the traffic lights) will enable people to ride/drive in a systematic way,” said Bhattrai.
Virologists, meanwhile, say that the lifting of the odd-even rule may not increase the risk of spread of Covid-19. “It is more dangerous when buses are crammed with people for the lack of enough buses in the city. But health protocols should be followed strictly in public vehicles,” said Dr Sher Bahadur Pun, virologist and chief of clinical research unit at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital.
He added that it was more important to take extra caution to save senior citizens from the virus, rather than worry about the odd-even scheme. “People should pay extra attention to senior citizens and people with other ailments, because the risk of transmission of Covid-19 has not subsided,” said Pun.