KATHMANDU, Aug 9: The import of diesel-operated three-wheelers has jumped by nearly seven times in Fiscal Year 2016/17 as compared to the previous year.
Statistics provided Department of Transportation Management (DoTM) shows that the country imported 17,782 diesel-operated three wheelers in Fiscal Year 2016/17, compared to 2,613 of the previous year.
However, this robust growth on import was limited mainly in Narayani and Janakpur zones. According to the statistics of DoTM, 10,854 three-wheelers were registered in Narayani zone while only 890 were registered in the previous year. Similarly 1,934 three-wheelers were registered in Janakpur zone in Fiscal Year 2016/17, against zero registration the previous year.
Similarly, 998 three-wheelers were registered in Mechi, 1,976 in Koshi, 163 in Lumbini, one in Dhaulagiri, 155 in Rapti, 1,607 in Bheri, and 94 in Seti in Fiscal Year 2016/17.
The huge import of small vehicles however is against the government’s policy of encouraging means of mass transportation service. Government officials in Janakpur and Narayani said that these vehicles are appropriate for narrow roads and for short distance travels. However, government officials are clueless about the new trend.
“There is no exact reason for the increasing registration of three wheelers. But in the case of tarai, three-wheelers are suitable for Tarai roads,” Achut Raj Regmi, director of DoTM said: “Three-wheelers are suitable for narrow roads so the both the operators and the passengers are attracted to it.”
Regmi also does not have exact answer to why the number of three-wheelers increased massively.
He said: “Demand may have increased the supply, three-wheelers are popular amongst people so the import of three wheelers might have gone up.”
“Three-wheelers are comparatively environment-friendly as their impact on environment is not that high.”
However, traffic engineer Ashish Gajurel does not think so. It would have negative impact on the environment, according to him.
“Mass transportation services should be promoted across the country rather than importing small vehicles,” Sitaula said: “This is a big disaster to import so many small vehicles. They only make traffic worse. It is against the policy of mass transportation.”
Statistics shows that e-Rickshaw users might have switched to these popular diesel-operated three-wheelers.
Government records show that the number of e-Rickshaws is decreasing. Head of the Birgunj office of the Department of Transport Management (DoTM), Yuvraj Adhikari, said the import of three-wheelers have increased this year in replacement of e-Rickshaw.
“People were attracted to the e-Rickshaw due to fuel crisis following earthquake and blockade,” an official at the DoTM office said: “However as time passed, it turned out to be expensive for the commoners.”
According to the statistics of DoTM this year only 2,247 e-Rickshaws were registered while in the previous fiscal year -- 2015/16, 11,894 e-Rickshaws were registered.
However, this remarkable decrease in the registration of e-Rickshaws was due to registration of previous year’s stockpiled e-Rickshaws in Fiscal Year 2015/16, according to Tulasi Sitaula, former secretary of Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport.
“The previous year, a large number of e-Rickshaws were pending for registration, that’s why large number of e-Rickshaw was registered at once,” Sitaula said.