Sajha Yatayat to go PPP way

Kathmandu, March 25:

The country’s pioneer public transport enterprise — Sajha Yatayat — is all set to adopt the much talked about public-private partnership (PPP) in the light of the organisation’s long-standing operational crisis.

The Ministry of Labour and Transport Management (MoLTM) has decided to re-launch Sajha Yatayat soon under under the PPP concept, said Minister for Labour and Transport Management Lekh Raj Bhatta here today.

The ministry decided to re-launch Sajha Yatayat — the only means of transportation in and out of the Valley during the late 80s and early 90s — after the failure to implement new ‘scientific’ fares in the public vehicles, a source close to Bhatta said. The government fixed new ‘scientific’ fares on February 26 but the public transport entrepreneurs have defied the ministry diktat and started charging arbitrarily, fuelling the already high price-hike.

The reluctance on part of transport entrepreneurs to implementing the new fares has forced the ministry to re-launch Sajha Yatayat. “Strengthening a public transport system like Sajha Yatayat can be a good start to ending the syndicate system,” Bhatta said.

MoLTM has a formed a taskforce to re-launch Sajha Yatayat within this fiscal year. Sajha Yatayat was established in 2018 BS under the Cooperatives Act 2016 BS. Deepak Subedi, joint secretary at the ministry has already been appointed taskforce acting chief until the transport is handed over to another management under PPP.

“MoLTM has decided to promote competition,” Subedi informed.

Currently, Sajha has 12 buses and all are more than 17 years old. The task force is planning to add at least 20 new buses and handover it to competent transporters. Out of 17, Sajha has rented 10 buses to private sector.

Once a popular brand badly affected after mid-90s when the government made it a recruiting centre of their party cadres. The For long, PPP has been said to be the best suitable option for Sajha Yatayat as private management will make its operations cost-effective and the public branch will ensure better service to people. It is the right time for private sector to join hands with Sajha.