Traffic Police have made lane discipline more stringent, but only 33 percent of roads in Kathmandu have road markingsOn average, the traffic police books 200 lane violators every day in the capital.
The Metropolitan Traffic Police Division has speeded up its drive to maintain lane discipline in the Kathmandu Valley, but due to the absence of lanes in most road sections, the drive has not been effective.
“Only thirty percent of the roads in Kathmandu Valley have road markings. We have strictly maintained lane discipline on the marked roads,” said Senior Superintendent of Police and Chief of the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division Bhim Prasad Dhakal.
Every day, around 200 people are booked for violating lane discipline in Kathmandu, according to the division office. The Traffic Police have put up placards at different road sections that read: “Up to Rs1,500 fine and one-hour class will be given if you breach the lane.”
The division has also significantly increased the number of traffic police personnel on the roads to keep a check on lane violations. The office deploys around 1,400 officers to manage the traffic in Kathmandu. Of the total number, 20 percent are deployed for enforcing lane discipline.
“Many roads in Kathmandu don’t have lanes. Before you enforce new rules, you have to build the necessary infrastructure,” said Kumar Alam, 26, who was held for violating lane discipline in Thapathali.
The traffic police department booked 21,155 lane violators in the last year. Data from the department show as many as 329,702 people have been booked in the past five years for violating lane discipline.
In developed countries, people are more aware of their laws and they hardly breach road discipline. Even if they do so, traffic violators are fined heavily. For instance, in England, drivers are fined £100 and given penalty points on their licence for ignoring lane discipline.
“In our case, people do not care about the law,” said Dhakal. He said maintaining lane discipline can reduce road accidents and significantly decrease traffic jams in the Valley. ‘It’s mostly two-wheelers and taxis that breach the lane rules.”
The absence of lane markers, however, have compelled traffic police to stand for hours as virtual lane dividers, says Dhakal.
Ahead of the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s two-day state visit to Kathmandu in October last year, the Department of Roads had asphalted and put a fresh dash of paint on VVIP roads, which include stretches from the airport to Tinkune, New Baneshwor, Maitighar, Thapathali, Soltimode, Jamal, Shital Niwas and Baluwatar. But those markings have faded now.
However, there aren’t any lane markings on numerous other road sections of the Valley.
“If we repaint all the road sections, it would cost Rs100 million. We don’t have the funds to do so. However, we are gradually marking the lanes across the Valley roads,” said Shiva Hari Sapkota, spokesperson at the Department of Roads. “Unless trippers that carry sand and bricks stop running on the roads, the road markings won’t last for long.”