Police setting up 14 help desks to assist Dashain travellersTraffic police office estimates 2.2 million people will leave the Valley this time. Public can dial 103 to report problems in their journey.
In a bid to help people leaving Kathmandu for Dashain, the Kathmandu Valley Traffic Police Office and the Department of Transport Management are working to set up 14 help desks across the Valley.
On Saturday, the Department of Transport Management, in coordination with public transport operators and traffic police, opened the bookings for Dashain travel tickets.
“Queues have started forming at New Bus Park since Saturday morning,” said Rajendra Prasad Bhatta, spokesperson for the police office.
During the last two Dashain seasons, very few people left the Valley for the festival owing to the pandemic, although the authorities had made arrangements in advance for booking bus tickets.
“We opened three help desks on Sunday,” said Bhatta, adding that by Monday, they would set up the remaining help desks.
The desks will provide information on ticket prices and address passenger complaints. Each help desk will have officials representing the Nepal Police, the transport department, the Department of Commerce, the Federation of Transport Entrepreneurs' Associations, consumer groups and trade unions affiliated to various political parties.
The help desks will be set up at Nagdhunga, Kalanki, Swayambhu, Machhapokhari, New Bus Park, Chabahil, Gaushala, Koteshwar, Jagati, Satdobato, Balkhu, Dakshinkali, Sundhara and the Old Bus Park.
Moreover, after Ghatasthapana on September 26, which marks the start of Dashain, traffic police will be checking long and medium route vehicles leaving the Valley at six different places—Thankot, Nagdhunga, Jagati, Pharping and Balaju Bypass, among other exit points of the Valley.
The Department of Transport has already lifted the queue requirement (no route permit will be necessary) for vehicles leaving the Valley from the day of Ghatasthapana.
“Traffic police stationed at six different exit points will be doing fitness checking of public vehicles, especially those that operate in local routes of the Valley for their mechanical conditions,” said Bhatta.
Also, traffic police have requested passengers to lodge complaints related to overcharging by vehicles with the help desk or by dialling 103.
“We will do everything in our capacity for the safety of passengers,” said Mira Chaudhari, the deputy inspector general who heads the traffic police. “We are trying our best to ensure the safety of travellers.”
According to the traffic police office, as many as 600,000 people had left the Valley for Dashain last year, up from 300,000 in 2020.
“As the situation is stable this time, the number of people leaving the Valley is likely to go up,” said Chaudhari. “People won’t be cheated by transport operators this time.”
A bus plying a long route will also need to have two drivers. There will be regular checks against drink driving and drug use by drivers, Chaudhari said.