Political protests cause long traffic jams in ValleyJust 15 minutes of traffic jam in core city areas could cause at least two hours of snarl-ups in various parts of the Valley.
Protests broke out in Kathmandu on Friday against the move of the KP Sharma Oli government to abruptly dissolve the lower house of Parliament and call for a fresh election.
The dissident faction in the ruling Nepal Communist Party, led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal, and the main opposition, Nepali Congress, have all condemned Oli’s action and now they are challenging his move through the streets.
Addressing a factional gathering at Babarmahal, Dahal suggested that the protest could continue in the days to come.
But with the prospect of daily protest rallies comes traffic congestion on the city streets.
“This is going to be another blunder from our political parties. Now thousands of us have to face the protest and jam inside the Valley,” said Nilam Subedi, 26, an educational counsellor.
“Now political parties have announced a series of demonstrations, and most of them happen in between New Baneshwor and Babarmahal. This will delay my work.”
Just 15 minutes of traffic congestion in core city areas, such as Maitighar, Ratnapark or New Baneshwor, means at least two hours of snarl-ups in various parts of Kathmandu Valley, according to the city’s traffic police office.
On Friday, the protest at Maitighar not only disrupted the traffic in the area but also in different parts of the city throughout the day.
Many people were stuck in traffic jams for hours while several commuters were forced to get off from vehicles and walk to their destinations.
The series of protests announced by the disgruntled political parties have kept the Valley’s traffic police on their toes.
According to the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, rallies have broken out in different parts of the Valley in the last four days, obstructing the traffic.
“The traffic in the valley has come to the pre-lockdown period and it has already become problematic. The latest political situation in the country is going to make our job difficult, “said Janak Bhattrai, Senior Superintendent of Police, also chief of the Division.
Around one million vehicles are plying the Valley roads daily ever since the government decided to discontinue the odd-even rule last week, according to an estimate of the traffic police division.
The division has deployed 1,500 traffic police officers to manage the Valley traffic.
“It’s always the common people like us who suffer. They are protesting on the streets and we are compelled to sit in traffic jams for hours,” said Mohan Shahi, who had to walk from New Road to Lagankhel because of the protest. “The Valley’s traffic jam was already notorious, the protests have made it worse.”
SP Shyam Krishna Adhikari, spokesperson of the traffic police division, said it was tougher for them to manage the Valley's traffic now.
“Earlier we used to get notice whenever there was a protest rally. Right now we are in a situation where protests could happen anywhere and at any time,” he said.