Lalitpur city police starts patrolling streets and neighbourhoods on bicyclesCity residents and elected representatives laud the city police under the new leadership of a former traffic policeman known for his no-nonsense approach in the past.
A day after getting 10 bicycles from Deputy Mayor of Lalitpur Metropolitan City Gita Satyal, Sitaram Hachhethu, the city’s police chief, and his team set out for an inspection t0ur on Thursday morning.
The team, equipped with cameras attached to their chests, patrolled the streets at Pulchowk, Mangalbazar, Lagankhel, Jawalakhel, Kupondole and Ekantakuna.
On the first day, the city police removed all intrusive hoarding boards and signboards at Kumaripati.
“We removed around 100 such boards on Thursday. The bicycles were quite handy for our inspection tour,” Hachhethu told the Post.
Hachhethu was recently appointed the Lalitpur city police chief. His team has been removing intrusive advertising boards for the past three days.
Hachhethu said the city police has so far removed nearly 300 signboards.
Nepal Cycle Society, a cycling advocacy organisation, has lauded the Lalitpur Metropolitan City’s decision to hand over bicycles to the city police.
“It shows the city’s commitment to make Lalitpur a cycle-friendly city. The city should now build more cycle lanes,” said Ratna Shrestha, founder and president of the society.
Lalitpur is the first metropolitan city to officially launch a 4.7 cycle lane from Kupondole to Mangalbazar. Mayor Chiri Babu Maharjan had inagurated the cycle lane in November last year.
Deputy Mayor Satyal said the city has allocated Rs 5 million to extend and build more cycle lanes.
She added the cycle-borne city police will be patrolling the streets and neighbourhoods of the city from 10am to 5pm.
“Bicycles will help our city police personnel reach different alleys and neighbourhoods. Since Lalitpur is a cultural city, this will also be a great way to promote cycling,” Satyal told the Post. “We will soon add more bicycles to our fleet in the coming days to make policing and inspection works more effective.”
Hachhethu, the city police chief, said he will personally be leading the city police team in the daily inspection tour for the time being.
“People were amused to see us cycling together,” he shared of the experience patrolling the city streets on bicycles. “I think this move will not only make the work of city police more effective, but also will fortify engagements and exchanges between city police and the residents,” he told the Post.
Since the city personnel will be equipped with cameras, they will be recording the city infrastructure, like roads, sidewalks and utility poles, that need repairing.
“We will monitor the footage and initiate the necessary work with the help of the city. The city police will also keep an eye on roadside encroachments and report them to the office,” Hachhethu said.
Starting last week, Lalitpur Metropolitan City has declared the sidewalks along the 3km stretch from Kumaripati to Kupondole as off-limits for street vendors.
Many city residents have commended the city police for its latest works.
“Hachhethu’s team has done an exemplary job,” said Ram Raja Maharjan, a local of Lagankhel. “His team took action against the garage operators who had been encroaching the sidewalks and roads. They are now removing illegal hoarding boards and signboards,” said Maharjan.
Even the elected representatives are happy to see the city police, led by Hachhethu, working proactively.
“The city police under Hachhethu has done some jobs that the city had not been able to do in the past. We had also tried to remove footpath encroachments and hoarding boards in the past, but without any success,” said Binod Tamrakar, the ward chairman of Lalitpur-19.
Even Shree Gopal Maharjan, the ward chairman of Lalitpur-3, who was not pleased with Hachhethu’s appointment, thinks the city police has been doing a great job of late.
“He [Hachhethu] was appointed by the city mayor and the deputy mayor without consulting the ward chiefs, but I must say that the city police is doing a proper job under his leadership,” he told the Post.
Hachhethu retired two years ago after serving in the traffic division of Nepal Police for 29 years. Throughout his career he has won many accolades for managing the traffic of Kathmandu Valley and bringing various reforms in the traffic police division.