POKHARA, May 5: By arresting entrepreneurs promoting transport cartels and protesting against the government's decision to scrap transport syndicate in various parts of the country, the government on Friday took a bold move against those imposing the transport cartels.
On Friday, the District Administration Office (DAO), Kaski, not just arrested such entrepreneurs but also used a vehicle of security forces for public use. According to Chief District Officer (CDO) Taranath Adhikari, an 18-seat bus of the Armed Police Force (APF) was used for transporting the locals as the agitating transport entrepreneurs refused to provide service to the people on Friday.
The bus was operated on various routes of Pokhara. "Transport entrepreneurs declined to operate their vehicles. So we decided to use the vehicle of APF so that we could facilitate at least some people," said CDO Adhikari.
CDO Adhikari further informed Republica that the government is preparing to mobilize vehicles for schools, offices, colleges and tourists too. "If we are able to manage vehicles for the public for some days like this, we will be successful in breaking the monopoly of these entrepreneurs," said CDO Adhikari.
He further said that the DAO has targeted to break the transport syndicate at any cost. "We are not going to spare anyone promoting the transport syndicate by going against the law," he added. DAO, Kaski arrested seven entrepreneurs including Rudra Bahadur Nepali, Ramesh Sutikar, Sunil Thapa, Nirmal Tamang, Prem Gurung, Man Bahadur Thapa and Dhan Bahadur Thapa.
Similarly, police arrested nine entrepreneurs from Dharan and one from Itahari after the instruction of Home Minister. Krishna Prasad Subedi, Central Vice Chairperson of National Federation of Nepal Transport Entrepreneurs (NFNTE), Hari Thapa, Secretary of Federation of Bus entrepreneurs, Dharan, vice-secretary Ganesh Bista and treasurer Suman Thapa were arrested among others.
Likewise, seven entrepreneurs supporting syndicate system were arrested form various places of Banke as well. While some were arrested from their homes, few were arrested for their offices.
Meanwhile, Kailali Police arrested five entrepreneurs from Mahendranagar and six from Kailali. Six officials of Karnali River Transport Committee were nabbed by police for supporting syndicate.
Furthermore, 11 more entrepreneurs were arrested in Dhangadhi. After hearing about the arrest of various entrepreneurs, the chairperson of the Federation of Far-Western Transport Entrepreneurs, which is the largest committee in the district, has apparently escaped to India.
As the government has started taking action against them, transport entrepreneurs have switched off their phones and have gone out of contact. Some who were in contact expressed their disappointment towards the administration for treating them as criminals.
(With the inputs from our district reporters Santosh Pokharel, Arjun Oli, Rohit Rai and Dil Bahadur Chhantyal)