KATHMANDU, Jan 3: Four months after Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal announced in the parliament to operate 100 city buses in major cities of the country, the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD) has asked four municipalities based in the Kathmandu Valley to register a joint company to operate large buses across Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur.
On Sunday, the MoFALD issued a 15-day deadline for Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Lalitpur Sub-metropolitan City, Madhyapur Thimi Municipality and Budhanilkantha Municipality to register a company, finalize their share of budget in the company, recruit necessary human resources and set up an office of the company to be headed by Kathmandu Metropolitan City.
The MoFALD has also asked these municipalities to submit details of the specifications of large buses to be operated in the Kathmandu Valley.
While addressing the parliament meeting on September 8, Prime Minister Dahal had announced to operate 100 large buses in the Kathmandu Valley, Biratnagar, Janakpur, Birgunj, Bharatpur, Butwal, Nepalgunj, Dhangadhi, Pokhara, Surkhet and Ghorahi within the next six months.
The government has planned to invest Rs 680 million for buying the 100 large buses. “The government has been preparing to hand over those buses to the company to be led by Kathmandu Metropolitan City and other similar bodies outside the Kathmandu Valley. Those companies will bear the operational cost of those buses,” joint secretary at MoFALD Jiwan Kumar Shrestha told Republica.
Shrestha said they have provided all necessary documents to register a company as per the existing rules. He informed that the ministry has instructed the Kathmandu-based municipalities to register a company but for the municipalities outside the capital they will need to wait for some time.
“If we could make a successful operation in the valley, all the cities outside the capital will learn and they will start working on their own in this operation model,” he said, adding, “Initially, the government will provide around 50 buses to the Kathmandu Valley.”
According to Shrestha, the modality to operate the large buses in Kathmandu Valley has almost reached its final stage, but they are short of budget. “As the budget has not been released even as we wrote to the Ministry of Finance some three months ago, the deadline set by the prime minister in his announcement is likely to be missed,” he further said.
So far, Kathmandu Metropolitan has invested Rs 100 million in Sajha Yatayat. This cooperative public transport company has been operating 30 new buses in Kathmandu Valley with this investment.