SINDHULI, June 9: The local administration of Sindhuli has completely banned the operation of heavy vehicles along the BP Highway four days after the Supreme Court (SC) issued an order to this effect.
Following a writ petition, the SC had given an interim order to ban the movement of heavy vehicles on the BP Highway, which is not suited for heavy vehicles. Despite the SC order, vehicles without permission were still found using the highway until the District Administration Office (DAO)’s decision on Friday. Initially, even the local government remained mum on the issue, which led to widespread criticism. Eventually, the DAO decided to implement the SC order and ban the movement of heavy vehicles along the highway.
“We have strictly forbidden the movement of vehicles without route permits on the highway,” said Chief District Officer (CDO) Gyan Prasad Dhakal.
On May 27, the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transportation had made a controversial decision to allow the movement of vehicles with maximum of 32 seats to operate from 5 am to 8 pm. The ministry had also allowed the movement of cargo vehicles weighing up to 16.2 tons from 9 pm to 5 am.
A writ petition was filed against the decision after which a single bench of justice of Sapana Pradhan Malla had issued an interim order to bar heavy vehicles from plying the highway on June 4.
Rameshwar Pandey, assistant sub-inspector of District Traffic Police Office said, “We have not allowed the movement of vehicles without route permits on this road, as per the decision of the SC.” He also informed that the verdict of the court was implemented after DAO issued a circular.
Stating that the movement of heavy vehicles would damage the already narrow highway, locals had widely criticized the local government’s earlier stance in this issue. Heavy vehicles have not just damaged the highway but has also increased the risk of accidents.
There are hundreds of potholes from Nepalthok to Dhulikhel caused by the heavy vehicles. Vehicles often get stuck in the large holes creating panic among the passengers.
“The decision of the SC to bar the movement of heavy vehicles is very welcome,” said Mikpar Lama, a local student.
Meanwhile, transport entrepreneurs have expressed their disappointment regarding the SCs decision. “We have been crushed between the tussle of the executive and the judiciary,” said Kanchaman Bal Tamang, in-charge of Janakpur Zonal Transportation Entrepreneurs Association. He accused the SC of issuing the order without understanding the ground reality of the highway and the demand of the locals.
“We don’t want the government to allow cargo vehicles weighing up to 16 tons to ply the highway but those weighing up to 10 tons should be allowed to move along the highway,” he said.