ending transport syndicates

Drivers and helpers still in want of appointment letters

Published On: December 13, 2018 03:30 AM NPT By: PAWAN KHANAL

KATHMANDU, Dec 13: Transport entrepreneurs are required to produce appointment letters, one of the key requirements set by the government, of its staff including drivers and helpers when applying to register as company. But even after months of introduction of such provision, drivers and helpers in the sector have been found to be working without appointment letters.

A quick survey carried out by Republica in the center of the city showed that the transport personnel did not have appointment letters, which gives them job security and ensures basic salary as well as bonus payments. Of the ten people surveyed, none was given an appointment letter. Three of them were clueless what an appointment letter stood for.

However, the Department of Transport Management claimed that all transport entrepreneurs who have converted into company-based operation have presented valid appointment letters of their staff.

When asked about an appointment letter, Sunil Chhetri, a helper of a bus operating on Kathmandu-Nagdhunga route, said: "What is an appointment all about?" Chhetri, 21, said his bus was still operating under a transport committee, which till now has defied the government's call to change into a company.

Similar is the story of Deepak Shrestha, a bus driver of Banepa-Panauti route. "All the time, the government has been talking about protecting rights of the transport workers. But as always, there has been a huge mismatch between the words and actions. We do not have any hope from the government,” a visibly frustrated Shrestha said.

In order to end syndicate in the transport sector, the department had issued a notice in April to private transport operators to register as a company by July. The deadline was later extended to December due to gross negligence by the private operators. The government had taken the step when the private operators defied cooperating with the government to regulate public transportation.

Whether the government will strongly pursue its promise to ban all transport operators who have not complied with the new rule is not known yet. Nonetheless, early signs are positive. As of Wednesday, 2,800 committee-based operations have registered as company-based operations, which means 7,500 public vehicles are eligible to operate after December 16.

Gokarna Prasad Upadhyaya, information officer at the department, said: "The new government policy will help formalize the operations of transport companies. It will register drivers and helpers under the social security scheme once a practical framework is established by concerned departments, and enable the tax authorities to track tax records of all companies."

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