‘Time card’ system rolled out, shopkeepers open shuttersPolice say traffic congestion in the morning due to stringent checks.
Many “non-essential” shops opened across the Valley on Sunday, and some of the city’s roads witnessed traffic congestion as many took to the streets at the same time due to the implementation of a ‘time card’ system.
Although the government last Wednesday decided to allow 40 busnesses, including banks, government offices and public enterprises to resume operations, many shops in the Valley also decided to open after remaining shut since March 24.
“I opened my shop nearly after one-and-a-half months as I heard in the news that the government has relaxed the lockdown,” said Tikaram Khadka, who owns a tailoring shop in Mulpani. “The number of people and vehicles on the road has also increased compared to the previous days and I have already received orders.”
Khadka said although business is not as good as that of the pre-corona days, it’s better than not doing anything. “I will at least earn something working here rather than sitting at home,” he said.
Many neighbourhood shopkeepers such as Khadka who sell bakery items, stationery and clothes opened on Sunday after more people started moving around in the city, and photos of traffic jams in the city started circulating on social media.
Senior Superintendent Bhim Dhakal, chief of Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, the ‘time card’ system was introduced to ease traffic congestion during rush hours as the government has allowed some offices and factories to operate with less staff than normal.
“Vehicles belonging to government bodies shall operate between 9:30 to 10 in the morning when people go to work and between 5 to 6 PM when they return home,” he said,
Similarly, vehicles belonging to the banks and financial institutions are allowed to operate from 9:30 to 10 in the morning and 3:30 to 5 in the evening. “The timecard rule requires that vehicles supplying grocery items, foodstuff and other emergency items be operated only before 10 in the morning.”
If one has to go out for an emergency, the person has to inform the police, he said.
Nepal has been on a lockdown since March 24 to contain the spread of Covid-19, with the latest extension applicable until May 18.
The disease that was first seen in Wuhan of China in December-end has now spread to almost all the countries across the world, with over four million cases and 280,868 deaths so far.
As of Sunday evening, Nepal has reported 110 cases so far. Twenty-eight patients have been discharged after recovery and there has been no deaths due to Covid-19 in the country.
Senior Superintendent Sushil Kumar Yadav, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Office, Ranipokhari, said only vehicles of permit holders and those going to work for offices that have been allowed to reopen are being allowed on the road.
Asked about the traffic congestion, he said, “There was a bit of congestion in the morning as personnel were checking each vehicle,” said Dhakal. “However, the situation was normal all day. All the vehicles on the road have permits.”
According to Dhakal, police have taken action against owners of over 500 vehicles who were on the road without essential work.