Transport entrepreneurs warn of operating long-distance transport services from Friday despite ongoing ban
July 1, 2021 02:25 PM NPT
KATHMANDU, July 1: Transport entrepreneurs have decided to start long-distance transport services from July 2, despite the ongoing prohibitory order. The government halted long-distance travels inside the country from April 29 following the spread of the second wave of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.
Earlier, the three district administration offices in Kathmandu Valley authorized the operation of public vehicles with more than 25 seats while following the health protocols and the odd-even rule. However, transport entrepreneurs are demanding the permission to run all types of public transport services.
According to Saroj Sitaoula, General Secretary of the Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs, the transport industry with an investment of Rs 1 trillion is in dire straits following the outbreak of COVID-19. The situation has forced the industry to run means of public transport on the road despite the ban enforced by the government. “Many sectors including the markets have been allowed to open. Enforcing a ban on the transport industry is not enough,” Sitaoula said. “We will hit the roads on July 2, the government can do whatever they want,” he added.
The Federation of Nepalese National Entrepreneurs, along with three transport workers unions, had released a joint statement on June 14 to operate all public transport services across the country by July 2.
According to Bhim Jwala Rai, chairman of Independent Transport Workers Association of Nepal, the transport industry has been requesting the three DAO’s of the Kathmandu Valley to change their decisions made on June 28 to allow vehicles with more than 25 seats to run according to the odd-even rule. “We have informed the CDO about our decision to run means of public transport all over the country from July 2 unless the previous decision is corrected,” Rai said.
As stated by Chairman Rai, the Federation of Nepal Transport Entrepreneurs Association, Nepal Transport Independent Workers Union, Nepal Transport Workers Union, and All Nepal Transport Workers Union have been regularly trying to draw the government's attention to the situation. “The administration has acknowledged our concerns as well,” Rai said. “A meeting among the concerned stakeholders has been scheduled for Thursday, to discuss the formulation of operation methods for all types of public vehicles while maintaining the safety standards,” he added.
“The prohibitory order has been relaxed to some extent across the country. Businesses and markets have started to reopen. Airline services have been resumed as well. There is no alternative to repealing the prohibitory order and allow means of public transport to run in order to raise the economy,” Rai said.
Transport entrepreneurs have also requested the government to lift the ban as well as administer the COVID-19 vaccines to transport workers. “Transport workers are at a big risk of getting infected from the contagious disease,” Chairman Rai said. “It has become necessary for the government to prioritize the distribution of vaccines for transport workers,” he added.
Transport entrepreneurs have requested the government to lift the ban on public transport in order to ease the daily life of people and to help the economic recovery. The association has decided to continue their protest unless the government provides relief to the families of transport workers who died of COVID-19.