Govt bans 20-year-old public vehicles

Kathmandu, March 1

The government’s decision to ban 20-year-old public vehicles in Kathmandu Valley has come into effect from today.

With a view to curb vehicular pollution and manage traffic in the Valley, the government earlier had decided to put a ban on 20-year-old public vehicles plying on the Valley’s roads starting today. In the second phase, the government aims to phase put such old vehicles from all roads of the country.

“Plying 20-year-old vehicles in the Valley from today is against the law. Regardless of any reason, we will take action against transport entrepreneurs if they are found operating such old vehicles in the Valley,” said Tok Raj Pandey, spokesperson of the Department of Transport Management (DoTM).

Meanwhile, DoTM has also formed a separate committee to monitor the market and implement the government’s directive. DoTM plans to scrap licence of those transport entrepreneurs operating 20-year-old vehicles as per the new directive introduced to implement the new rule on old public vehicles.

Informing that there are almost 2,500 such old vehicles plying on Valley’s roads, Pandey said that prohibiting such vehicles would control the rising air pollution in the Capital and preserve urban beauty.

As per DoTM, almost 5,000 vehicles plying on the roads across the country have crossed the 20-year limit.

The government decision to ban old public vehicles, however, has received criticism from transport entrepreneurs. Transport entrepreneurs have been demanding effective incentive from the government before implementing the ban. “Transport entrepreneurs have injected huge investment while procuring their vehicles. The ban on such vehicles without incentives will put transport entrepreneurs’ investment at risk,” said Saroj Sitaula, general secretary of Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs Association.

Along with transport entrepreneurs, the rationale behind the government’s decision to ban old public vehicles has been questioned by other stakeholders too. A week before, Durga Prasad Dawadi, director general of the Department of Environment (DoE) had told The Himalayan Times that the government should put a ban on public vehicles on the basis of vehicular emission instead of age if pollution is to be actually controlled.