KATHMANDU, July 21: Entrepreneurs have announced that they are resuming the public transportation service inside the Kathmandu Valley from coming Thursday.
Amid a joint press conference held at the Federation of Nepali National Transport Entrepreneurs (FNNTE) on Tuesday afternoon, the entrepreneurs affiliated to the FNNTE and the Transport Laborers' Trade Union said that they will resume the public transportation service from July 23.
The FNNTE has also urged all the transportation companies to resume public transportation.
Earlier on July 10, the government had decided to allow short-distance public transport as part of its measures to ease the lockdown.
However, transport entrepreneurs were reluctant to resume the service. They had set various pre-conditions for resuming public transportation. After reaching an understanding with the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) recently, the entrepreneurs are now ready to resume the public transport, according to FNNTE Chairperson Yogendra Kumar Karmacharya.
As per the understanding reached between the entrepreneurs and the DOTM, the department and entrepreneurs will share corona insurance; the department will take initiatives to establish a welfare fund for the laborers involved in the public transportation service and provide compensation if they die. Likewise, the DoTM has agreed with the entrepreneurs that it will request the government to resume long-distance public transportation as well.
According to Karmacharya, the Monetary Policy unveiled by the Nepal Rastra Bank has also addressed their demands. "To some extent, the Monetary Policy has provided relief to us. Provisions announced through the Monetary Policy regarding refinancing and loan installments are the positive aspects," he added.
It is worth-mentioning here that the government decided to resume public transportation services amid mounting pressure from the public transport entrepreneurs to allow resuming their service as they are “forced to face severe economic hardships due to the prolonged lockdown”. Hundreds of taxi drivers had staged a protest in Kathmandu a few days ago demanding the government allow them to resume the service.
In a move to further relax the nationwide lockdown enforced to curb the spread of coronavirus, on July 10, the government had decided to allow the resumption of public transportation within the same district with the vehicles allowed to carry passengers only fifty percent of their seating capacity.