Anup Ojha, The Kathmandu Post, 5th April 2018
The government has issued permits to five transport companies to ply buses on Kathmandu-Dhulikhel route.The Department of Transport Management (DoTM) on Wednesday issued permits to Sajha Yatayat, City Metro Yatayat, Annapurna Yatayat, Shiva Darshan Pvt Ltd and Madhya Upatyaka Yatayat.
The government seeks to end the hegemony of the cartel over bus commuters in the city. The cartel continues to defy government directives. Protesting against the decision, members from a cartel of 13 transporters have suspended their bus services and are blocking rival companies’ services in city since Monday. Its members forcibly stop buses plying on Araniko Highway and rural destinations in Kavrepalanchok district.
Picture Credit: Anish Regmi
DoTM Director General Rupnarayan Bhattarai said, “We have given permits to five transport operators on this route. The government will give the full security to the bus operators. Transport companies have sought permission from the department to operate buses in remote parts, connecting Bhaktapur and Banepa.”
The department’s decision has annoyed the cartel. It demands revoking the permit given to new company Mayur Yatayat that started services on March 15. It runs its 24 buses from Kalanki to Banepa.
DoTM officials say the cartel has strong control over bus services on Arniko Highway. They do not allow new companies to enter transport business. Cartel members threaten them and vandalise their buses to protect their hegemony over commuters.
The department has warned the cartel it would revoke its permits, if they do not resume bus services.
The Home Ministry has directed Traffic Police note transporters who obstruct the free service offered by Mayur Yatayat. On Wednesday, Sajha Yatayat extended its Kathmandu-Sangha service up to Banepa.
Mayur Yatayat Chairperson Mohan Shrestha said, “The cartel vandalised six of our buses. They did not block our buses on Wednesday because passengers support us.”
Mayur Yatayat’s debut has alleviated commuters’ travel ordeal. The company has deployed 24 buses, 14 with 42 seats and remaining with 37 seats. Their buses have video monitors with live feed from digital cameras for security. It provides free rides to senior citizens above age 70 and offers separate seats for women and pregnant women.
On Monday, Banepa residents and bus commuters united as one group and dispersed members of the cartel that had planned to block traffic 9 am onwards on Araniko Highway.
“We are monitoring vehicles and the cartel. We will soon scrap their permits and give it to new operators as per the law,” said Bhattarai. Earlier, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had directed the Transport Ministry and DoTM to take stringent action against the cartel.