Mid-Jan deadline for transport bodies to switch to companies

Kathmandu, July 16

Against the anticipation that the age-long syndicate practice in the country's transportation sector has come to an end, the government today extended the deadline for transport bodies to transform into the company model until mid-January.

Though the government was supposed to scrap all existing transport bodies (transport committees and associations) effective from Tuesday if they had not switched to company model by then, Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) today extended the deadline for transport bodies to comply with the aforementioned law.

Similarly, government has also decided to unfreeze bank accounts of transport bodies conditionally. This means that transport bodies can withdraw a certain amount from banks for certain purposes like to pay compensation to victims of an accident and salary payment to staffers. However, transport bodies will have to submit a recommendation letter on these cases to their respective banks.

This flexibility shown by government towards transport syndicate practitioners is expected to provide room for syndicate to bounce back, especially in the backdrop of transporters increasingly lobbying high-ranking officials to restore transport syndicate and trying to influence them.

It is to be noted that a majority of transport bodies, including big transport associations like Narayani Transporters' Association, Araniko Transport Association and Prithivi Highway Bus Entrepreneurs' Association, among others, are yet to start their company registration process.

This reluctance of big transport associations to start company registration process and the government's decision to extend the registration renewal deadline for transport bodies hints at possible rebirth of syndicate system in public transportation industry.

However, MoPIT officials said that both aforementioned decisions were taken based on the suggestions of a study committee formed to identify possible ways to manage the country's transportation sector.

“There is no doubt the government will eliminate syndicate in the transportation sector from the root level. By giving transport bodies a few more months time to switch to company model, the government plans to curb transport syndicate more systematically and scientifically,” said Raghubir Mahaseth, minister for physical infrastructure and transport.

Furthermore, Mahaseth said the government will bring some visible changes in the country's transportation industry within a few months by managing traffic lights and zebra crossings across city areas.