With many traffic officers in quarantine, motorists flout odd-even ruleMore than 300 officers have been in placed in quarantine after Covid-19 infection was detected in two traffic offices in Kathmandu.
The government-imposed odd-even rule for vehicles in Kathmandu Valley was hardly followed by motorists on Thursday, as most of the traffic officers are in quarantine after Covid-19 infections were detected in two traffic police offices in Kathmandu.
Nearly 300 traffic officers at the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division in Baggikhana and 33 officers at the Metropolitan Traffic Police Section in Tripureshwor are currently in quarantine facilities after one of its officers tested positive for coronavirus infection on Tuesday.
The Tirpureshwor and Thapathali areas, where a dozen or so female officers are deployed for traffic duty in normal times, had just two officers on Thursday. The number of traffic police in other major junctions in Kathmandu was also low.
“There were many who flouted the odd-even rule. But we could not stop them since there are just two of us,” said a traffic constable deployed in Thapathali.
Sub-inspector Ek Raj Dhamala, the in charge of Metropolitan Traffic Police Section in Tripureshwor, said he had no idea what was going on outside as he and 32 other traffic officers were observing quarantine fr0m Wednesday.
“We have to stay here for two weeks. We can’t go out to manage and monitor the city’s traffic,” he told the Post.
Meanwhile, 300 traffic officers at the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division have also been placed in quarantine after some officers were found infected.
Superintendent of Police Bam Dev Gautam, spokesperson for the division, said the test results of four officers have come positive for Covid-19.
The Baggikhana office of the division has been sealed and all 300 officers including the division’s chief, SSP Bhim Prasad Dhakal, have been observing quarantine inside.
SP Gautam said the division was coordinating with the Nepal Police to monitor the traffic rules.
But not many police personnel were present on the city streets on Thursday.
The Nepal Police itself has been dealing with limited staff numbers following an outbreak of coronavirus at its headquarters in Naxal.
“The traffic officers are not enforcing the odd-even rule because they seem to be afraid of catching the infection,” said Rishi Ram Pandit, a motorist the Post talked to at Thapathali.
SP Gautam, the spokesperson for Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, said motorists violating the odd-even rule were not booked because the government had announced the rule on Wednesday night.
“Many didn’t know about the rule. We will strictly implement the rule from Friday,” he told the Post.
Public health experts have long been warning of a massive coronavirus outbreak in Kathmandu Valley if vehicles and the number of people on the road are not controlled.
According to the Ministry of Health and Population, the Valley saw a total of 87 Covid-19 positive cases— 76 in Kathmandu, 10 in Lalitpur and one in Bhaktapur in the past 24 hours.