Nepal | July 12, 2020

Govt’s taxi permit scheme backfires

Sujan Dhungana
Share Now:

File – A visually impaired woman picking a lottery coupon to decide the owner of a new taxi in a draw held to distribute taxis among earthquake victims of Nuwakot district, at Chyasal, in Lalitpur. on Wednesday, June 21, 2017. Photo: Naresh Shrestha/THT

Kathmandu, July 28

The government’s target to create livelihood opportunities for quake victims by distributing taxi permits seems to have fallen flat, as a large number of such victims, after acquiring the taxi permits, have been transferring the ownership of their cabs immediately after getting it registered with the government office.

Due to their inability to make an investment in purchasing the vehicle, which costs almost Rs 1.6 million, more than 50 earthquake victims who recently acquired taxi permit have already transferred the ownership of their vehicles, according to Bagmati Transport Management Office.

The government had distributed taxi permits to 1,500 earthquake-affected people of the 14 worst-hit districts on June 21. Since then, 100 quake victims who received the permits have registered their cabs at BTMO.

However, due to their failure to withstand financial burden of buying taxis, earthquake victims are searching for investors to purchase the taxi and transferring the ownership of the cab after taking some commission.

As per BTMO officials, new taxi permit acquirers are taking commission amounting to almost Rs 300,000 while transferring the vehicle’s ownership to the actual investor.

However, government officials said they were unable to control the trend of quake victims transferring ownership of taxis, as vehicle ownership transfer was legal.

“Though we have legal provision that one cannot buy or sell vehicle number plates and permits, there is no law that prohibits the acquirer of new taxis from transferring the vehicle’s ownership,” said Basanta Adhikari, head of Small and Big Vehicle Division at BTMO.

Since vehicle ownership transfer is legal, Adhikari said they had only been giving counselling to quake victims who got new taxi permits not to transfer the ownership of their cabs and encouraging them to operate it on their own.

Moreover, Adhikari said BTMO had so far been able to get in touch with only 500 quake victims out of 1,500 who had been granted taxi permits. This only proves that quake survivors did not find the government’s scheme lucrative enough.

Though THT could not independently verify the trend of quake survivors who had won taxi permits transferring their vehicle ownership, Adhikari said such quake survivors had cited weak financial position as the main reason for opting to sell taxis. “Apart from not having necessary resources to buy taxis, they are also unwilling to move to Kathmandu Valley, which is the best market for cabs.”

A majority of quake survivors who were present for the lucky draw to distribute taxi permits a month ago had told THT back then that though they filed applications for lack of better options, such schemes only add to their financial woes.

Interestingly, BTMO officials said a large number of quake survivors who had been granted new taxi permits were aged above 60 — the age-group for which banks and financial institutions are reluctant to issue loans. The Department of Transport Management had sought applications from quake survivors for new taxi permits on the basis of their earthquake victim identity card and most such cards are in the name of elderly.

Government officials themselves say that the government should have introduced customs waiver facilities for such cabs and ensured financial sources to earthquake victims to purchase taxis when the permit scheme was introduced.

Adhikari, admitting that the scheme was launched without enough groundwork, said the government, while launching the scheme, failed to properly disseminate information to quake victims that the government was not giving away free taxis but only free number plates and route permits.

“The scheme received a mammoth 150,000 applications from earthquake victims, as they were misled into thinking that the government was distributing free cabs,” added Adhikari.

What went wrong

  • Many quake survivors have transferred ownership of cabs
  • Apart from not having necessary resources to buy taxis, they are also unwilling to move to Kathmandu Valley, which is the best market for cabs
  • A large number of quake survivors who have been granted new taxi permits are aged above 60 — the age-group for which banks and financial institutions are reluctant to issue loans

A version of this article appears in print on July 28, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Nepal COVID-19 Update: 70 new cases, 431 recoveries, three deaths

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s Health Ministry, in its regular press briefing, shared the latest updates on coronavirus contagion from across the country, and government’s response to the health crisis. As of today, 279,599 tests through Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) method have been carried out, Read More...

Death-toll from Myagdi landslide reaches 27; four still missing

POKHARA: As many as 27 persons, who went missing in the landslides that swept through Myagdi district, have been confirmed dead, until Saturday evening. Four persons are still missing. While bodies of 24 persons were recovered throughout Saturday, three bodies had been found on Friday. Accordi Read More...

Eminem, Kid Cudi collaborate on new single on police brutality, coronavirus

KATHMANDU: American rapper Eminem and Erase Me singer Kid Cudi have collaborated for the first time for a new single The Adventures of Moon Man and Slim Shady on police brutality, coronavirus pandemic and more. According to ANI, the song slams police brutality, takes a dig at those not wear Read More...

Designers make plea for Black Lives Matter movement at Paris fashion week

KATHMANDU: Dutch brand Botter made a plea for the Black Lives Matter movement at Paris men's fashion week on July 10. According to AFP, the two designers of the brand — Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh delivered a plea for people to "unite against violence on the black community, against vio Read More...

Bollywood actor Abhay Deol feels nepotism is just tip of the iceberg, it's prevalent everywhere

KATHMANDU: Bollywood actor Abhay Deol feels that nepotism is prevalent everywhere including politics, business and films and it is just the tip of the iceberg. Abhay, who made Bollywood debut with Socha Na Tha under his uncle and actor Dharmendra Deol's Banner Vijayta Films, took to Instagram t Read More...

'Distantly related' Katy Perry, Taylor Swift fight like cousins

KATHMANDU: American singers Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, who resolved their differences last year, are rumoured to be related and they fight like cousins. According to ANI, during an interview on Capital Breakfast With Roman Kemp, TV show host Sian Welby asked Perry about the theory circulating Read More...

Armie Hammer, Elizabeth Chambers call it quits after 10 years of marriage

LOS ANGELES: American actor Armie Hammer and wife Elizabeth Chambers have split up after 10 years of marriage and 13 years together — they shared the news on their respective Instagram accounts on July 10. "Thirteen years as best friends, soulmates, partners and then parents. It has been an inc Read More...

Ireland mourns its 'most loved Englishman' Jack Charlton

DUBLIN: Ireland mourned as one on Saturday former national soccer manager Jack Charlton, whose achievements transcended the sport and made him a hero despite hailing from old rivals England. The English World Cup winner, who died at 85, took over the Irish team in 1986 when relations were tense w Read More...