Dashain shoppers add to Valley traffic woes

Kathmandu, October 3:

The onset of Dashain seems to have made everyone in the Valley come out on the streets manifesting themselves as serious shoppers and traffic stoppers.

The past few days have seen bumper-to-bumper traffic jams all around the city for no apparent reason, shoppers blame traffic police as well as increasing number of vehicles in

the capital.

Dharahara-Sundhara junction to New Road Gate — a one-stop-shop, has been a royal mess. Street vendors’ stalls, shacks have grown in length and breadth displaying Dashain clothes and knickknacks. They have smartly set up plastic sheets overhead for shades.

The only places, which are slightly accessible, are the by-lanes that lead to Khichapokhari besides the occasional motorbikes that come through.

Smells wafting from snack carts along the sidewalk, bright colours of clothes, people haphazardly jaywalking and elbowing others mid-riff, the taste of dust and grit in mouth and the sounds of vendors trying to rake in customers along with the constant honking, all constitute the scenario. “The moment you get off in front of the Nepal Airlines Corporation and begin moving towards Dharara all your five senses get heightened,” a Dashain shopper, Meena Karki, said.

Along with the street vendors, tempos and especially microbuses are busy with their usual business squashing in passengers more than they can accommodate.

The streets vendors’ union — Nepal Self Employment Business Labour Association — has stepped in to manage the mess during the Dashain. With union’s red sash across his chest and band on his head, Ram Chandra KC and three other members of the union are busy in traffic police’s role.

They have taken the responsibility of controlling the traffic from September 25 and would continue till October 7, Phulpati.

“When the roads get blocked, traffic police and Kathmandu Metropolitan City police start harassing street venders,” said KC.

We have taken up the responsibility after traffic police did not respond to the street vendors request to manage traffic, said another traffic volunteer Kalyan KC.

SP Bhisma Prasai attributes that both people and vehicles that are on the roads at the same time for the traffic pressure in the capital.