Sharp rise in number of people entering Kathmandu after govt eased lockdown

Published On: June 16, 2020 02:20 PM NPT

KATHMANDU, June 16: The government on June 10 decided to relax the ongoing nationwide lockdown which was enforced on March 24. Private vehicles are allowed to operate on an odd-even basis while businesses and industrial activities have been allowed to resume effective from June 11.

The businessmen and entrepreneurs who had earlier left the capital in the wake of the COVID-19 spread are now gradually returning to the Kathmandu Valley to resume their economic activities. The major entry points to the Valley have been witnessing a significant rise in the number of people entering the Valley.

Ghanshayam Shrestha, a Deputy Superintendent (DSP) of Police at Metropolitan Police Circle, Thankot, said that the movement along the major entry point to the Valley has increased in recent days. According to Shrestha, as many as 1,500 people trying to make it to the Valley without a travel pass were sent back on Monday alone while 105 others have entered Kathmandu via the check post producing their passes.

The police administration, however, urged one and all to come to Kathmandu only after receiving a travel pass from the respective district administration office. “We do not allow anyone to enter the Valley without a pass,” said DSP Shrestha, adding, “However, the check post has witnessed a direct impact of the government’s recent decision to ease the lockdown in the Kathmandu Valley as many of those trying to enter the Valley claimed that they had their businesses here.”

Sanga, another entry point to Kathmandu via Bhaktapur district has also recorded an increasing number of people entering the Valley. More than 3,000 vehicles entered the Valley on Monday alone via Jagati in Bhaktapur, according to Police Circle, Jagati. Despite police’s claim of allowing entry to only those with passes, locals said that people are entering the Valley uninterrupted.

According to the Metropolitan Police Range, Kathmandu, as many as 12,000 people entered the Valley on Monday through various entry points. Police claim that they strictly check travel passes of those who are seeking an entry to the Valley. “Although there has been a surge in the number of people coming to Kathmandu in the last two or three days, we have applied stricter measures so that unauthorized people do not enter the Valley,” said DSP Raj Kumar KC, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Range. Security checks have been tightened at the entry points including Bhaktapur, Thankot, Dakshinkali and Sankhu, according to DSP KC.

Kathmandu already looking congested

Following the government’s decision to relax the lockdown almost after three months, Kathmandu has already started witnessing a rise in the movement of people. Government and private offices also resumed their operation starting from Monday. Private vehicles were seen plying the streets as the government introduced an odd-even rule effective from June 11.

Police seized 1,923 vehicles as of Monday evening on the charge of violating the odd-even rule. Spokesperson for the Metropolitan Traffic Police Office, Jeevan Ram Shrestha also told Republica Online that traffic police staffers displayed placards to the public on traffic safety.

Government offices, those mainly related with transportation management, land revenue and local units, were seen packed with service seekers. Some of the offices have demarcated circles in an attempt to maintain social distance.   

The government has asked the people to apply precautionary measures in view of the growing risk amid public movement in the Valley. Spokesperson for the Home Ministry, Kedarnath Sharma said that life has been gradually turning normal since Monday. Acknowledging the fact that the lockdown can’t be imposed for a longer time period, he said “Safety precautions are a must at the time of this pandemic.”

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