Bus operators defy to register as companiesA majority of public transport operators have yet to register their companies even as the deadline set by the government to register is just three weeks away.
A majority of public transport operators have yet to register their companies even as the deadline set by the government to register is just three weeks away.
The Department of Transport Management has stated that around 1,500 operators having around 6,000 public vehicles have registered their companies so far. However, the number is insignificant as the department estimates that around 400,000 passenger buses function across the country at present.
“We are collecting data on public vehicles that operate all over the country. The department is also making preparations for the measures that need to be taken once the deadline comes to an end,” said Gokarna Upadhayay, the department’s spokesperson.
Upadhayay said some of the large transport operators have started with the registration. According to him, Bheri Transportation Pvt Limited that operates around 347 buses has recently registered itself as a company.
The government had amended the existing Transport Management Directives-2004 in April this year in a bid to break the syndicate in the public transport sector that was flourishing under the transport committees and associations. Moreover, the government intervention had also guided transport operators to register themselves as taxpaying companies. The number of public transport associations is estimated to be around 500.
While the government has been stating that it will not allow vehicles that have not been registered under a company to operate from December 16, the transport entrepreneurs said they would defy the rule until their demands are met.
An official from the Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs Association (FNNTEA), who wishes to remain anonymous, told the Post that the association will not comply with the rule until the government lifts the freeze on their bank account.
“Operators within the association need to clear several financial dealings before registering, which is not possible when there is a freeze on our bank accounts,” the official said. Transport entrepreneurs have been demanding the government to unfreeze their bank accounts—even making the issue a bargain chip during the Dashain festival when the need for transportation service increases significantly.
“We understand the entrepreneurs’ issues. The decision, however, cannot be revoked easily as it has been endorsed by a cabinet meeting,” Upadhayay said.
Gopal Prasad Sigdel, joint secretary at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, said, “The government cannot and should not impose a ban on public vehicles. That is only going to hit general public. Hence, we will recommend proper solutions.”