KATHMANDU, Oct 31: The number of people departing from and entering into the Kathmandu valley dropped notably this year during the Dsahain festival.
According to Metropolitan Traffic Police Division (MTPD) chief, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Bhim Dhakal, the number of entrants and departees decreased significantly this year due to the fear of COVID-19 spread.
SSP Dhakal added that the flow of over one million people used to be recorded in such festive seasons in the previous years but only about 100,000 people were recorded exiting and entering the Kathmandu Valley around this Dashain festival.
Dhakal further added that about three million people had left Kathmandu for their ancestral homes and 1.8 million people had returned to Kathmandu last year during the Dashain period.
He said that the pandemic effect adversely affected all, creating fear of infection while organizing get-togethers. Therefore, a large section of people chose not to leave Kathmandu this year.
The record shows that the mobility of the people was recorded lesser in 2015 due to post-quake trauma and again repeated in this year due to the coronavirus impact.
Passenger flow during Dashain last year and this year
Two hundred three thousand passengers have entered the Kathmandu Valley by 51,594 vehicles during the Dashain period this time as of October 29. Nearly 300,000 people left Kathmandu in 58,000 vehicles during the same period. This figure is very low compared to the previous years. This time, the flow of people to and from the Valley is nearly equivalent to the number of vehicles entering and exiting the Valley in the past.
In the last fiscal year 2019/20, three million people exited the Valley by 359,000 vehicles during the Dashain time while 1,835,000 people entered the Kathmandu Valley via 335,000 vehicles.
SSP Dhakal said many people had left the Valley before Dashain due to the coronavirus pandemic and most of them have not returned due to the fear of the pandemic. He added that many more people might be planning to return to Kathmandu only after celebrating the Tihar and Chhath festivals.