Finally to execute ban process of 22-year-old public vehicles countrywide

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The government has decided to ban public vehicles that are 20 years or older across the nation from March 15 onwards. Such vehicles were banned in Kathmandu Valley last year.

The Department of Transport Management (DoTM), under the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, said the rule will be strictly enforced with an objective to curb vehicle congestions, controlling air-pollution emanating from vehicle emissions and reduce road accidents that might happen with old vehicles plying on the roads.

This is not the first time that the government has made such a commitment, though. The decision was made in January 2015 to take vehicles which are older than 20 years off the roads.

On February 28 last year, the Cabinet banned public vehicles older than 20 years from operating inside Kathmandu Valley, but the decision was not implemented strictly.

The department has booked less than a dozen such vehicles in the past year.

“Such old vehicles are one of the many causes for congested traffic and pollution. Once we are able to phase out all vehicles above 20 years of age, it will ease vehicular movement in city areas and minimise pollution,” said Pandey.

As per DoTM’s estimation, there are almost 5,000 20-year-old vehicles plying the roads of the country and almost 2,500 such vehicles were being operated in the Valley. However, Pandey claimed that almost all 20-year-old vehicles have already been phased out from Kathmandu Valley.

“Operating 20-year-old vehicles in the country after mid-March will be against the law and DoTM will take action against transport entrepreneurs if they are found operating such old vehicles after the given deadline,” said Pandey.

Citing that such old vehicles are not technically fit to be operated and are also prone to accidents, Pandey informed that DoTM will cancel the route permit of all such old vehicles from mid-March.

However, transport entrepreneurs have been seeking incentives from the government before phasing out old vehicles citing that prohibiting transporters to run their vehicles will put their investments at risk.

“Transport entrepreneurs have injected huge investment while procuring their vehicles. The government should first take the responsibility of transport entrepreneurs’ investment before enforcing the ban,” said Saroj Sitaula, general secretary of the Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs Association.

Director of DoTM Tulsi Ram Aryal said that they wanted to remove all kinds of old vehicles but they did not have proper law to carry out the action. Aryal further stated,

“We do not have authority to ban all kinds of vehicles that are hazardous to the environment and we are bound by vehicle and transportation regulations 1997 that will not allow us to make decisions on private vehicles.”

DoTM officials suggested that using old public vehicles made people prone to accidents and they were also one of the main causes of pollution.

Public vehicle operators are not satisfied with the new rule. Rail Bahadur Tamang, a taxi-driver said that he had invested a lot of money to buy a taxi and he would be out of work once it was scrapped.

“I have been driving this taxi for the last 15 years, and I have taken good care of it. I am confident that this can last 15 years more. But, if I have to scrap it in the next five years, I will be unemployed at the age of 40, and will not be able to start a new profession.”

Similarly, automobile dealers have been urging government to ban vehicles on the basis of their fitness rather than age.

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