Motorists in Kathmandu are not following odd-even rules; 26,995 motorists booked in two weeksPublic health experts have warned that increased movement of people has raised the risk of coronavirus infection.
The number of vehicles plying on the streets of Kathmandu has gone up to the point of causing traffic congestions ever since the government announced a partial relaxation of a nationwide lockdown that was enforced on March 24.
After three months of lockdown, the government on April 13 had announced to ease the lockdown restrictions for private vehicles by adopting odd-even rules. However, many people have been found violating the odd-even rationing, traffic police say.
“I have been getting stuck in traffic in Koteshwor for the past one week because many people don’t seem to be following the odd-even rules. Traffic officers have been deployed in many places, but they don’t seem to be doing a great job at enforcing the odd-even rules,” said Bhojendra Gautam, a marketing officer at a private firm who commutes from Sallaghari to Kathmandu every day.
Traffic jams have also become a daily occurrence in Tripureshwor, Thapathali, New Road, Bhadrakali and New Baneshwor in the recent days.
According to the data kept by the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, 26,995 motorists were booked for breaching the odd-even rules in the past two weeks.
The majority of the motorists booked by the traffic police (18,868) were motorcyclists, 4, 241 were drivers of four-wheelers and 3,886 were taxi drivers.
Although the government has not lifted the restrictions on public vehicles, many taxi drivers in the Valley have been carrying passengers.
The cabbies have protested the “unfair rule” of the government and said they need to operate their taxis in order to survive.
On Saturday alone, traffic police in the Valley booked 190 taxi drives for violating the lockdown restrictions.
The Kathmandu Valley has 12,385 taxis and around 25,000 drivers who offer taxi service in two shifts during the day and the night.
“We are trying our best to enforce the odd-even rule, but many motorists have been taking their vehicles out often with false emergency excuses,” said SSP Bhim Prasad Dhakal, chief of the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division.
Every day, the division has been deploying 1,400 traffic officers in 40 different points across the Valley.
On Saturday, the traffic police booked 1,216 motorists for breaching the odd-even rules; the number is at least twice as much during weekdays.
Public health experts have expressed concern about the increased movement of people.
“Many people are going outside as though it were normal times. Many restaurants have opened and people are not observing social distancing rules,”said Bishnu Bhakta Khanal, 53, who runs a grocery shop in Dhobi Chowr, Kathmandu. “The sudden increase in the movement of people has increased the risk of infection in the Valley.”