Cases of valuable missing in taxis on the rise

Kathmandu, August 10

Basanta Bhusal of Bajhkateri-3, Gulmi, left behind a bag in a taxi she hired for her journey from Anamnagar to Naikap on February 20.

Simal Rai, 38, the cabbie, returned to Kalanki after he dropped his passenger in Naikap.

As Basanta came to know about the bag forgotten in the taxi, she called the traffic police control room (103) seeking help for retrieval of her lost property. By the time officials at Metropolitan Traffic Police Division were preparing to alert all its units regarding the matter, Rai approached the MTPD to submit the bag that contained gold ornaments worth around Rs 350,000.

The taxi driver proved that honesty counted. Traffic police handed over the bag to Soniya Bhusal, Basanta’s younger sister, in the presence of Rai. Honest cabbies like Rai are rare in Kathmandu valley.

On June 28, Tondu Sherpa forgot a bag containing Rs 76,000 and some medicines in a taxi while travelling from Maharajgunj-based TU Teaching Hospital to Swoyambhu. He lodged a complaint at MTPD.

Three days later, traffic police traced the taxi on the basis of a CCTV footage and arrested the cabbie. Superintendent of Police Rabi Kumar Poudel, MTPD spokesperson said the cabbie was released with a warning as he had returned the bag intact.

According to MTPD statistics, cases of property missing in taxis are on the rise. As many as 466 cases of property losses were reported in fiscal 2018-19 compared to 184 in fiscal 2014-15, 151 in 2015-16, 286 in 2016-17 and 378 in 2017-18.

Traffic police succeeded in settling 164 cases in fiscal 2014-15, 114 in 2015-16, 239 in 2016-17, 301 in 2017-18 and 325 in 2018-19 by retrieving properties from taxis.

MTPD said investigation into the remaining cases were underway. Passengers lose an array of valuables, including bags containing money, wallets, mobile phone sets and laptops, among other goods, in taxis. An average of one lost case is reported to traffic police every two days.

SP Poudel said that it was not an easy job to trace the taxi and cabbie for retrieval of reportedly lost property when the concerned passenger did not note down the registration number of the cab they hired.

In such cases, investigators largely rely on CCTV camera footage to trace the taxi driver on the basis of facial features of the cabbie as narrated by the passenger.

The authorities suggested that the passengers should take care of their belongings while travelling in taxi and note down its registration number.