Around 500 people apply for lockdown travel passes in Kathmandu daily, but only 50 or so get themMost of the applications are rejected because the applicants cannot prove if their emergencies are genuine, officials say.
The number of people visiting the Kathmandu District Administration Office to apply for travel passes to travel to their hometowns and villages during the lockdown has risen in recent days.
At least 500 people visit the office daily to apply for passes showing various emergencies, but not all of them are genuine, according to the officials.
Jeevan Acharya, the information officer at the office, told the Post that the office has been issuing passes to only around 50 people in a day.
According to Acharya, the government's decision to extend the lockdown period to prevent the spread of Covid-19 has pushed many people from outside the Kathmandu Valley to make up emergencies so that they could visit their homes.
The local administration accepts only genuine concerns of the people.
There is no shortage of applicants who are coming up with excuses such as death in the family, birth, sickness and delivery of medicines to one’s loved ones, Acharya said.
To get a pass from the district office, one needs to write an application, that must show the genuine concern explaining the purpose of mobility. Officials said the person only gets the pass after verifying from the local authority or through relatives to inquire whether the problem is real.
“We receive many fake applications. When we ask the applicants for the phone numbers of their relatives and local government representatives, they have no answers,” Acharya told the Post. “Many applicants are desperate to leave the city because they do not have anything to eat or are facing financial problem due to the extended lockdown.”
The lockdown has mostly affected the daily wage workers. Without jobs they have no means of income to eat and pay their landlords. Many of them have started to leave the city on foot.
The people who have been stuck in the Valley have been asking the government to arrange vehicles for them to return to their hometowns and villages.
The government on Thursday had announced to allow people to travel to their hometowns on Friday and Saturday, only to backtrack from the decision within a few hours of announcement.
The Kathmandu district office has been issuing travel passes only after considering the nature of emergency mentioned by the applicants.
“We were much lenient in the first week of the lockdown. With the rise in the number of fake cases, we have become more strict these days,” Assistant Chief District Officer Krishna Bahadur Katwal told the Post.
According to the records at the office, 4,000 travel passes were issued in the past 18 days.
As the nationwide lockdown approaches its third week, the number of people defying the shelter-in-place orders has gone up in the Valley, police data show.
According to the Metropolitan Police Office, Rani Pokhari, around 2,500 people are getting booked daily in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts for breaching the lockdown orders. The number stood below 2,000 per day until a week ago and much lower in the first week.
So far, police have taken action against 33,956 people for lockdown violation in the Valley. Police also booked 7,000 vehicle owners in that period.