LAHAN, Jan 29: On Saturday, Superintendent of Police Balaram Pokharel of the Armed Police Office (APF) lost his life after the jeep (Ba 1 Jha 1633) he was traveling in bumped into a parked tractor-trailer near Pasaha Bridge along the Pathlaiya-Nijgadh road section. Four more persons including Chief District Officer (CDO) Ganesh Bhattarai were injured in the fatal accident.
SP Pokharel was taken to Nijgadh-based Alpine Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Similarly, critically injured CDO Bhattarai is undergoing treatment in Kathmandu. As the tractor-trolleys do not have signal lights on their backs, it is hard for the vehicles coming from behind to see them, especially at night.
Four years ago, Upendra Sah of Lahan-7 lost his life while his wife Urmila was critically injured when their jeep (Ba 1 Cha 7100) crashed into a parked tractor (Na 1 Ta 1647). Upendra succumbed to his injuries after seven days while Urmila survived the incident.
Similarly, Dipendra Yadav of Naraha-8 bumped into a tractor trolley while giving side to a vehicle coming from the opposite direction. He was rushed to the hospital but died on the way. On January 24, four people died when the tractor-trolley (Ja 1 Ta 3516) they were on board skidded off the road. Reportedly, there were 30 passengers on the tractor.
Tractors bought in subsidy for an agricultural purpose are found attaching trolleys on their backs against the law. An increasing number of these tractor-trolleys in the highway has added to the number of road fatalities. Originally designed for plowing fields and carrying crops, manure, straw among others, these tractors of late are found being loaded with bricks, cement, rods, gravels among others.
In the fiscal year 2003/4, the government allowed farmers to add trolleys in their tractors following the recommendation of the Department of Transport Management (DTM). Since then, farmers are rampantly using these trolleys for various purposes other than agriculture.
Tractor owners can add trolleys only from the workshops authorized by the department. Sadly, most of the owners neglect this law and attach trolleys in their tractors as per their will, according to Upendra Mahato, section officer of the DTM, Janakpur.
"We have not given permission to any tractors registered under Janakpur Zonal Transport Office to add trolleys," said Mahato.
In Province 2 alone, there are around 20,000 tractors but the number of traffic police is just 378 here, according to Mahato. As per the details maintained by the Provincial Traffic Police Office, Pathlaiya, 133 tractor accidents occurred in the fiscal year 2017/18.