Almost half the applicants don’t have genuine reasons
KATHMANDU, June 1: Dhan Bahadur Gurung’s sister is a mental health patient, who had come to Kathmandu before the government enforced the nationwide lockdown on March 24. After the government enforced a stay-at-home order, his sister was stuck in Kathmandu, and has been staying at a relative’s house.
Gurung, a resident of Pokhara Metropolitan City, had applied for a travel pass at the District Administration Office (DAO), Kathmandu, to take his sister back to Pokhara.
As the government extended the nationwide lockdown, the number of people applying for vehicle passes has increased in recent times. Currently, the local administration in Kathmandu has been receiving more than 300 applications for travel passes everyday.
According to Janak Raj Dahal, chief district officer of Kathmandu, not all the applications are genuine. “We have been issuing about 150 passes for genuine applications everyday,” Dahal said, adding that the number of people applying for travel passes has increased after the lockdown extension, and this is also a wedding season.
According to the local administration, it has been verifying the cause mentioned by the applicants by contacting the local authorities, nearest police stations or relatives.
Likewise, Ashish Khadka, a staffer at a cooperative in Syangja, had also applied for a vehicle pass at the DAO, Kathmandu. “I have to go to the office now. I had come to Kathmandu after feeling excessive back pain. I have been staying at my relative’s place for the last one week,” said Khadka.
In the meantime, the local governments of different districts have been sending vehicles to Kathmandu to rescue people who have been stuck in Kathmandu due to the nationwide lockdown.
“The local administration has been issuing travel passes to people to exit the capital. It doesn’t provide passes to return to Kathmandu. For that, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) has been coordinating with the local administrations concerned,” said Dahal.
In the meantime, the local administration has also received complaints that people are entering and exiting Kathmandu in ambulances even when they don’t have genuine causes. “We have already taken action against many such ambulances and people,” said Dahal, adding that the office has already issued almost 10,000 vehicle passes after the government enforced the nationwide lockdown.
According to the DAO, it mostly issues vehicle passes for people to attend funerals, marriage ceremonies, and for staffers, who have to attend office.