KATHMANDU, Dec 15: Vehicle Fitness Center situated at Teku, Kathmandu, has remained unused for three years.
While equipment of the center, which has been established with an investment of Rs 35 million to test road worthiness of vehicles through a computerized system, is gathering dust, condition of vehicles is being tested manually by the engineers of Department of Transport Management.
The center can test six different aspects of vehicles, including condition of brakes, chassis and light system, within ten minutes. But the center has not been brought into operation.
Officials of the center say that lack of technicians was delaying launch of the center. They also say that the DoTM has not shown willingness to bring the center into operation.
Mechanical and road worthiness test is a must for every public vehicle including taxi. With the center still not operational, vehicles unworthy for roads are plying the roads without any hindrance. It is one of the reasons behind rising road accidents and air pollution level in urban areas like Kathmandu.
Officiating Project Manager of the center, Maniratna Kayastha, does not have any specific reason behind the delay. Talking to Republica, Kayastha said he needs direction from DoTM and the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport to bring the center into operation. He also added that the center lacks trained hands to test road worthiness of vehicles.
It has already been six years since the contractor completed installation of machineries imported from China at the center. But official say they are not aware of the equipment and software installed at the center.
The center has two vehicle testing bays - one for light vehicles and the other for heavy vehicles.
Tulsi Prasad Sitaula, former secretary of the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, said it was a matter of shame that condition of vehicles are tested manually while a high-tech testing center remains unused. “Mechanical engineers cannot assess road worthiness of buses and trucks," Sitaula said, suggesting all concerned to bring the center into operation at the earliest.
“We have no job to do,” Kayastha complained. “We do not know how to operate the equipment.”
Some say that the government is dragging its feet on launch of the center due to pressure of transport entrepreneurs.
Director General of DoTM, Chandra Man Shrestha, could not be reached for comments despite repeated attempts.