Kathmandu, December 16
Though the government a few months ago had decided to end syndicate practices in the public transportation sector, it has been failing to implement the decision under pressure from transport entrepreneurs.
By scrapping the registration of transport bodies (transport committees and associations) in April, the government had announced that it would not renew their registration froTram mid-July if they failed to transform their businesses into the company modal. However, the government’s recent decision to extend the deadline for transport bodies to comply with this direction for the second time has reflected on the government’s unwillingness to illegalise syndicate practices in transportation sector of the country.
Publishing a notice a week ago, the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) had informed that public vehicles that have not been registered with the department under the company model will not be allowed to ply the roads from December 16. However, going against the anticipation that the age-long syndicate practice in the country’s transportation sector would finally come to an end, the department has once again extended the deadline for transport entrepreneurs to switch to the company model till mid-March next year.
The government on Saturday decided to extend the deadline citing the necessity to amend a few provisions in the existing Company Act to bring the large transport associations/committees under the company format.
Lawanya Dhakal, director general at DoTM, informed that the deadline has been extended for the final time and the extension is basically intended to address a few concerns raised by the transport entrepreneurs. Last week, transport entrepreneurs had ‘officially’ agreed to switch to the company model but had set a few preconditions that include transferring transport bodies’ movable and immovable properties, including their vehicles and staffs to the new company, among others.
“A few amendments in the Company Act are necessary to address these concerns of the transport entrepreneurs,” said Dhakal.
However, this flexibility that the government has been showing time and again in bringing transport bodies under the company model and the unwillingness of the transport bodies to register their business into a company hints towards the possible rise of the syndicate system in the transportation sector in the future.
As per the statistics of DoTM, only around 10,000 public vehicles (of the 1,500 transport bodies) out of more than 200,000 public vehicles across the country have registered with the DoTM under the company model so far.
A version of this article appears in print on December 17, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.