A municipality in Khotang has two bus parks but they are never occupiedHaphazard parking in the market area has increased the risk of accidents because of congestion, locals say.
Diktel Rupakoti Majuwagadi Municipality in Khotang has two bus parks with the capacity of holding around 150 buses at a time. But buses do not park there. Instead, buses wait for passengers on roadsides. This has led to unprecedented traffic congestion.
The bus parks, located at Acharya Gaun in Ward No. 1, and Solma Danda Gaun in Ward No. 2, are not serving their purpose, say locals.
Repeated requests by the mayor's office to the local bus operators to use the two bus parks have gone unheeded, said Kamal Dhakal, an advisor to the municipality mayor.
"The municipality has repeatedly warned against parking vehicles in no-parking zones, but the drivers don't pay heed to the warnings," Dhakal said. "Even the traffic police, who should take action against illegal parking, has done nothing."
Haphazard parking in the market area has increased the risk of accidents.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Bamdev Gautam said managing illegal parking was the job of the municipality.
"Traffic rules and regulations are outside our jurisdiction," said Gautam. "The mayor's office must use its authority to resolve this issue."
The land plots where the two bus parks are located were donated by locals.
"We all decided to give land for the development of the village. We thought it would be good for the municipality to have designated parking spots for public vehicles," said Devi Prasad Acharya, a resident of Acharya Gaun who had donated land for the bus park in the area.
Surya Bahadur Rai of Dada Gaun said it was a matter of concern that the bus park had gone unused.
"The infrastructure of the bus park was built with millions of investment. But they haven't been built well," Rai said.
Aside from questioning the quality of the infrastructure of the two bus parks, local transport operators say using the bus parks on a daily basis is not feasible.
"The municipality hasn't made any security arrangement at the bus parks. Who will guarantee the safety of the vehicles?," said Dhani Ram Rai, who works at a ticket counter of Khotang Transport Private Limited. "There are also no hotels nearby for bus drivers."
According to Parsuram Acharya, chairman of the Bus Park Construction Consumers' Committee, around Rs 20 million has been spent so far on Acharya Gaun bus park.
"In the last fiscal year, the Province 1 government had allocated Rs 5 million via the office of Urban Development and Building Construction for the project," said Acharya.
The fund is being used to construct a 91-metre long supporting wall, 150-metre long sewage, two eight-metre wide bridges in a small canal, a garden and a drinking water well. Locals say that the concerned authorities have not paid heed to their concerns even after repeated complaints about the congestion in the market areas and the poor construction work of the bus parks.
Over the years, five consumer committees were formed to lead the bus park projects.
"The materials used in the construction of the bus parks are of low quality. There are many glaring technical errors in the construction work," said Radhika Acharaya, a local. "The support wall has been built without curing. So many consumer committees were formed to keep a check on the construction work, but none of them did a good job."