Province 1 fails to effectively implement ban on old vehiclesTransportation entrepreneurs term the government’s year-old decision unscientific and impractical.
The federal government on March 15, 2018 had imposed a ban on public vehicles older than 20 years across the country. The ban—which was aimed to curb vehicle congestion, reduce pollution emitted by old and poorly maintained vehicles and decrease the risk of road accidents—is yet to be implemented effectively in Province 1.
As per the record of the Province 1 Transport Management Office in Itahari, around 2,250 vehicles older than 20 years are still in operation. Among them, the transport office has retired only 18 vehicles from service since the ban came into effect.
Bhim Gautam, chief at the transport office, said that all 20-year and older vehicles could not be put out of commission as “the vehicle owners did not approach the office”.
“The office does not have a detailed record of the owners of old vehicles. So we are unable to seize the vehicles,” said Gautam.
Gautam also stated legal difficulties in seizing those vehicles.
“We don’t have any specific provision that tells us what to do with the vehicles after we take control of them. We don’t have the space to keep all seized vehicles and the existing legal provisions do not authorise us to auction them off,” he added.
According to the transport office, most older vehicles are in operation in hill districts where there is no or less presence of traffic police. The transport office also said that the lack of manpower and resources has made it difficult for them to monitor all vehicles.
“A separate unit should be formed solely for monitoring purposes. The provincial government should take an active interest in the matter,” said Hari Prasad Lamichhane, the information officer at the transport office.
However, transportation entrepreneurs of the province are reluctant to support the government authorities to streamline the process of maintaining data of old vehicles. They argue that the government’s decision is unscientific and impractical.
“Vehicles should be obliterated through a scientific test. A vehicle of only 10 years can also be removed if it fails to meet the standards. It is quite unscientific and impractical to ban vehicles on the basis of the number of years of its make,” said Saroj Shrestha, coordinator of the Nepal National Transportation Entrepreneurs Association of Province 1.