Nepal | August 12, 2020

Public transportation under low govt priority

Himalayan News Service
Share Now:

KATHMANDU, JULY 6

Despite being one of the top affected sectors by the COVID-19 and the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of the virus, the government has no plans on how to sustain the public transportation sector and help it revive. As a result, investment worth billions of rupees in the country’s transportation sector and livelihood of thousands of workers employed in the sector are at risk.

Public transportation service is at a complete halt since the government imposed the lockdown on March 24 and the halt in operation of public transportation services is unlikely to be lifted until the government lifts the lockdown. While the lockdown could be prolonged further along with cases of coronavirus rapidly increasing in Nepal, the public transportation sector is bound to remain shut indefinitely and the government has no plans to facilitate the sector and help it cope and sustain the current crisis.

In fact, it is due to this indifferent nature of the government towards public transportation sector that transporters have threatened to start a protest against the government. “While transport entrepreneurs have had no business since almost four months, banks and financial institutions (BFIs) are constantly pressurising transporters to deposit loans and interests.

Along with this, transport companies are facing a problem to sustain their workers,” said Saroj Sitaula, general secretary of the Federation of Nepali National Transport Entrepreneurs. “Transport entrepreneurs have been gradually started suffering from depression.”

As per statistics of the Department of Transport Management (DoTM), almost 1.5 million people are employed in domestic transportation industry.

Similarly, transport entrepreneurs claim that investment worth billions of rupees has been injected in the industry which is at risk today.

“More than 80 per cent of the investment in the sector is financed through BFIs. As public transportation service is completely halted, transport entrepreneurs are unable to repay loans and interest rate while BFIs are pressurising us,” added Sitaula.

A few days ago, cab operators had also staged a protest against the government for not resuming cab services and facilitating their businesses. Cab operators are preparing to stage a fresh protest in front of Singhadurbar soon.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport is in no mood to resume public transportation services any time soon. “Amid increasing coronavirus cases, resuming public transportation can pose further risk. Similarly, resuming public transportation service and providing entrepreneurs relief is a concern for the high-level COVID-19 control committee and the Ministry of Finance,” said a source at the transport ministry.

However, Finance Ministry officials have said that transport entrepreneurs should approach for different subsidised loan facilities announced by the government through the budget targeting all sectors affected by the COVID-19. “The government is also preparing sector specific loss assessment due to COVID-19. Other relief measures will be provided in the future as per necessity,” said Uttar Kumar Khatri, spokesperson for the Finance Ministry.


A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 7, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Extra-time Fernandes penalty sends United into Europa semis

COLOGNE: Manchester United were forced to dig deep to reach the Europa League semi-finals as Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes converted a 95th-minute penalty to secure a 1-0 win over a stubborn FC Copenhagen side after extra time on Monday. United, who won Europe's second-tier comp Read More...

Coronavirus in APF personnel increases risk of community spread in Jhapa

Jhapa, August 10 It is suspected that COVID-19 has spread at the community level in Gauradah Municipality of Jhapa. With the detection of COVID in five people, including APF personnel today, the risk of COVID spread at the community level has increased in wards 6, 7 and 8 of the municipality. Read More...

Livewire Lukaku leads Inter to Europa League semi-finals

DUSSELDORF: Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku scored the winner in a 2-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen as he tormented the Germans to lead his side into the Europa League semi-finals on Monday. Nicolo Barella put Inter ahead after 15 minutes, driving the ball home after Lukaku's shot w Read More...

COVID cases on the rise in Dharan

Dharan, August 10 The number of people infected with COVID-19 is increasing in Dharan Sub-metropolitan City. Nine more people tested positive for the disease in the city today. After the virus spread in the community from Preeti Valve and Fittings factory in Dharan Industrial Estate, the su Read More...

Bara to set up 400-bed isolation ward

Bara, August 10 Authorities in Bara have decided to set up a 400-bed provincial isolation ward in Jitpursimara Sub-metropolitan City for treatment of coronavirus infected persons. “Work to construct the isolation ward will start from tomorrow and finish in two weeks,” said Jitpursimara sub Read More...

Cases of coronavirus rising among bank staff

KATHMANDU, AUGUST 10 The rising cases of coronavirus among bank staffers across the country have raised serious concerns over the effectiveness of measures adopted by banks and financial institutions (BFIs) to prevent the spread of the virus. As banking services are among essential services an Read More...

Four of a family dead as house collapses in Doti

DOTI: Four members of a family were killed after their house collapsed in Adharsha Rural Municipality-1 of Doti District on Monday night. The deceased have been identified as Loke Luhar, his wife Bishna (35), son Paras (11), daughter Siru (7) and Jenisha (4), informed Deputy Superintendent of Read More...

849 passengers arrive on last day of fourth phase of repatriation

KATHMANDU, AUGUST 10 A total of 849 Nepalis were evacuated today via five flights. According to Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) evacuated 151 passengers and Himalaya Airlines repatriated 149 passengers from Doha in Qatar. Himalaya Airlines also brought h Read More...