In this photo taken in October 3, 2011 at Koteshwar, Kathmandu, people as seen on the roofs of buses heading to Sindhupalchowk, Dolakha and Ramechhap districts for the Dashain festival.
KATHMANDU, Sept 9: Nepal’s largest festival Dashain is only two weeks away, but booking of bus tickets has not yet opened. Instead, the bus operators have resorted to protest the government’s decision to restrict them from ferrying passengers on rooftops of the buses.
The government’s had last September decided to bar bus operators from overloading their buses by putting passengers on rooftops, in an effort to minimize accidents.
The decision of the government led by then prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal was widely appreciated as the travelers felt much secure with it. But now, the bus operators have demanded to use rooftops, though for luggage only and not for passengers. But the government officials say they would stick with their decision and would not allow buses with rooftops to carry passengers.
Bharat Timalsina, vice chairman of Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs Association said that the decision is unilateral and irrational because they won’t have any space to keep luggage of the passengers.
“Passengers come with luggage but without rooftop, we won’t have space to keep them,” complained Timalsina.
Last year, the government had imposed the rule and had even mobilized vehicles of security agencies to carry passengers from Kathmandu to their hometowns. An estimated 2.5 million people leave the capital city to celebrate the Dashain festival.
Sarbendra Khanal, chief of Metropolitan Traffic Division, said that they would not allow buses with rooftops carriers, and that traveling on the rooftop was strictly prohibited by law.