October 6, 2018 04:30 AM NPT
By: Amar Khadka
ITAHARI, Oct 6: Taking advantage of the festive season, vehicle operators have started surcharging passengers. Venting their ire against the exorbitant hike in fares, locals, laborers, and even transport entrepreneurs have started raising their voices of late.
Labor minister and transport entrepreneurs have expressed their disappointment toward the authorities for not taking action against those surcharging passengers. For the past few days, long-distance vehicles operating from Kathmandu to the various hill and Tarai districts have increased their fares. Extremely high number of passengers move in and out of the districts during festivals. "Vehicle operators have been charging more than what is fixed by the government," said Minister for Labor, Gauri Lama while inaugurating a Passengers Help Desk on Wednesday, adding, "It is sad that the monitoring authority is mum despite being aware of the fare hike."
According to him, especially the vehicles moving from East to Kathmandu, Baglung, Pokhara, Mahendranagar, Dhangadhi, Nepalgunj among others are surcharging the passengers. Especially the Deluxe vehicles and microbuses have hiked their fares. In order to make more money, vehicle operators have been carrying more passengers than the capacity of their vehicles. This has compelled the passengers to risk their lives.
Dhruba Ghimire, Operator of Tri-Ratna Transport, admitted that they charge extra amount for the vehicles, which leave early. Shailesh Bista, vice-chairperson of Itahari Chamber of Commerce and Industry stressed that transport entrepreneurs should create such an environment that people will prefer traveling in public vehicles instead of private vehicles. He said that the chamber will be installing cameras on various roads so as to regulate and monitor the activities of vehicles.
Prem Prakash Upreti, Chief District Officer (CDO) of Sunsari said that stern action will be taken against those who are surcharging the passengers by randomly opening ticket counters. "Not everyone but some people or groups with the ill intention of taking advantage of people's compulsion to travel during festivals are doing so," said CDO Upreti, adding, "We will make sure that they won't get to do that."
Meanwhile, Sanjay Sah, chairperson of Koshi Zonal Transport Management Office, Itahari, informed Republica that preparations are underway to conduct an inspection at few places of East before Dashain by deploying teams. "We will take action against those who are surcharging the passenger and carrying passengers without giving them tickets," said Sah.Caption: Chief District Officer of Sunsari participating in the inauguration of a Passengers' Help Desk in Itahari