20 years on, govts fail to implement Transport ActTwenty years since Nepal decided to appoint transport inspectors for monitoring public vehicles across the country, successive governments have failed to enforce the decision
Twenty years since Nepal decided to appoint transport inspectors for monitoring public vehicles across the country, successive governments have failed to enforce the decision which could minimise the number of road accidents.
Nepal adopted the Motor Vehicles and Transport Management Act in 1993 with an aim to prevent traffic accidents. A key provision is in Article 157 which states that the government may appoint transport inspectors to see whether vehicles follow the rules. Experts regard the failure to implement this provision as the major cause of road accidents in the country.
“Transport inspectors would have prevented traffic accidents, ended the syndicate system, discouraged reckless drivers and illegal operation of public vehicles,” said Madhu Sudan Burlakoti, former director general of the Department of Transport Management. “In the absence of inspectors, traffic police have taken up this role which they cannot fulfil with full competence.”
According to the Act, checking of public vehicles for compliance with route permit, speed limit, seat and weight capacity are the duties of transport inspectors. Besides ensuring that workers have driving licence and conductor licence, they prepare passenger manifesto and verify fares. Contrary to the Act, traffic police, whose job is to ease traffic movement, are involved in the tasks that require expertise.
Traffic police data show that 90 percent of road accidents in the country are caused by excesses such as driving under influence, speed and overload. On average, 2000 people die in road accidents annually in Nepal. This Dashain alone, 92 people were killed in several accidents while close to 600 were injured.
Nabin Kumar Pokhrel, a Transport Department director, said Nepal needs more than 100 transport inspectors, at least 50 in the Valley alone, to adequately monitor public transportation.
But he has no answer why the government has not hired inspectors so far despite the legal provision. He, however, stressed the need for major amendments to the Act.