Drivers protest demanding resumption of taxi service in Kathmandu valley

Kathmandu, June 30

Over 300 taxi drivers today staged a protest at Minbhawan of Kathmandu, demanding that taxi service, which has been halted since March 24, be allowed to resume.

Though coronavirus cases continue to grow across the country amidst the nationwide lockdown taxi drivers said they were ready to operate their cabs.

Their desperate action is followed by the stretched lockdown, which has choked their business making it difficult for them to earn their living.

The protesters said they would die from looming starvation due to the prolonged lockdown.

The government has allowed private cars, bikes and other private vehicles to ply within districts on the basis of odd-even rule. But, the government is yet to decide on how or when to allow public vehicles or taxis to operate.

Government’s decision on the third week of June to partially lift the lockdown has eased public life inside Kathmandu valley.

But, life in the valley is yet to be restored to normalcy in absence of pubic vehicles as a majority of the valley denizens depend on public vehicle.

Taxi drivers said they were ready to operate cabs by adopting safety measures.

Sanu Purbachhane Magar, chairman of Valley Taxi Entrepreneurs Committee under All Nepal Transportation Workers Organisation said since there was no telling on the time frame of the lockdown the time when the virus would be controlled they had no options but to resume their work.

“Taxis are not different from private cars. If people contract the virus while travelling in taxis so do they while travelling in private cars.

But, the government is least bothered about the grim situation facing us,” said Magar, adding, “We therefore demand that taxis should be allowed to operate by carrying maximum two passengers on the back seat and by adopting required safety measures.”

Magar added that taxi drivers were confident that the government would address their concern at the cabinet meeting yesterday as promised to them.

“But the government turned a deaf ear to our plight and extended the lockdown,” lamented Magar.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 1, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.