Passengers are being charged for trolley service at Kathmandu airportAirport officials say they are unaware of the issue and vow to deal with it immediately.
Cheeja Gurung, who was travelling to Pokhara from Kathmandu airport on Wednesday, was surprised when a stranger asked her for money for a luggage trolley.
While Gurung, 33, and her five-year-old daughter were looking for a trolley at the airport taxi stand, a man approached her and asked her if she would be needing a trolley service.
“I couldn’t find a luggage trolley and so this man came to me and asked for Rs50 to take my luggage. I know the trolley service is free. But I couldn't confront the man because I had a flight to catch and I had two bags with me.”
A group of people has apparently hijacked the luggage trolleys at the airport and they are charging the passengers for their usage. Meanwhile, the airport authority is unaware about this shady syndicate.
The Post interviewed several passengers at the domestic terminal of the airport who complained about difficulty finding luggage trolleys and having to pay the “trolley handlers” for the service. There was no sight of unoccupied trolleys at the taxi stand, but there were a few people pushing empty trolleys around looking for passengers, preferably overwhelmed by luggage.
Suman Adhikari, 37, who had arrived at the airport to catch a flight to Chitwan, said he too was approached by a person with a trolley.
“I didn’t see any trolleys around. So this man comes to me and asks for some money for the trolley service,” he told the Post. “I rejected his offer and decided to lug my bags myself.”
Prem Nath Thakur, spokesperson for Tribhuvan International Airport, said he was unaware that the passengers were being charged for trolley service.
“It’s illegal to charge for the trolleys,” he said. “We will inform our security team to deal with the issue.”
Besides being charged for luggage trolleys, many passengers at the airport also complained about being overcharged by taxis. Some of them complained that even when they had booked the service using ride-sharing apps, they were overcharged.
Thakur, however, said that the airport authority cannot intervene in the issue of passengers being overcharged by taxis.
“This is a complaint that the police should be handling,” he said.
Senior Superintendent Rajesh Nath Bastola, chief of airport police, on the other hand, said that the airport’s operation department is responsible for controlling such activities on the airport premises.
“It's the responsibility of the airport authority to check such malpractices. We take action only after receiving complaints,” said Bastola.
He, however, said that the airport police have already nabbed four people for misbehaving or trying to cheat passengers in recent times. They were handed over to the Metropolitan Police Circle, Gaushala.
“We are doing our best to stop such acts inside the airport. But passengers need to complain first,” added Bastola.