Nepal | August 08, 2020

Transporters submit vehicle keys to banks

Public transport halted for over three months, but BFIs pressuring them to clear dues

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Agitating transport entrepreneurs have started submitting keys of their vehicles to banks and financial institutions, stating that they are not in a position to repay loans and interest at the moment as public transportation service has been completely halted for almost four months.

Stating that BFIs have started pressuring transport entrepreneurs to clear outstanding dues at a time when transporters had zero business since the government imposed the lockdown on March 24, the Prithivi Highway Bus Operators Association today submitted vehicle keys to different banks.

The association today submitted vehicle keys of 30 buses to NMB Bank, 25 keys to Muktinath Bikas Bank, 17 keys to Garima Bank and 18 vehicle keys to Prime Bank in Pokhara.

Yogendra Bahadur KC, president of the association, said transport entrepreneurs were compelled to hand over vehicle keys to banks as BFIs were constantly pressuring transporters to clear their instalments and interest while the government was showing no interest in addressing the concerns raised by transport entrepreneurs.

According to KC, the Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs had officially requested the government to defer loan and interest payment period for transport entrepreneurs by at least six months.

He added that transport entrepreneurs had no other option as the government was indifferent to their concerns.

“We are not saying that we will not pay bank dues. However, making payments at a time when transporters have done no business for months is not possible,” added KC.

The association, which submitted keys of 90 vehicles today, plans to submit vehicle keys of almost 400 buses within the next few days to BFIs.

Transport entrepreneurs say that almost 70 per cent cost of vehicles is financed through BFIs.

The FNNTE is also preparing to launch a nationwide protest against the government’s apathy towards the public transportation sector.

Saroj Sitaula, general secretary of FNNTE, said the federation would soon announce its protest programmes.

While transport entrepreneurs have been pressuring the government to resume public transportation service, the government is in no mood to allow public vehicles to ply along roads amid increasing cases of coronavirus.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 8, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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