Nepal | May 26, 2020

Festive flight: 2.1 million people have left the valley

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, October 15

Over 2.1 million people have left Kathmandu valley to join their families back home to celebrate Dashain.

Spokesperson for Metropolitan Traffic Police Division Superintendent of Police Raj Kumar Lamsal told THT that more people were set to leave the valley. “Over 2.1 million people have already gone home through Thankot, Dakshinkali, Jagati and Balaju entry points since Ghatasthapana and 1.62 lakh, who have booked flights, are expected to leave in a day or two.”

People are also boarding queue-free buses for which they don’t have to book travel tickets, he added. Those leaving the valley for Dashain include migrant workers, students, civil servants and private employees. On an average, 2.5 lakh people are leaving the valley daily and the number is likely to surge till Mahaasthami. Fulpati and Mahaashtami are the busiest travel days before it witnesses a lull for a few days.

Over 17,000 buses, minibuses, microbuses and jeeps have been ferrying passengers to their destinations daily since the past few days. Around 9,000 vehicles leave the valley on normal days.

At least three million are expected to travel for their homes from the valley via road and air, according to MTPD. This figure is basically the same as that of last year.

Lamsal said traffic police personnel were mobilised to manage and regulate vehicular traffic so as to ensure passengers’ safety and facilitate them. Passenger help desks have been set up in 13 places of the valley. Equipment has been mobilised on the Naubise-Nagdhunga stretch to immediately remove vehicles which encounter mechanical breakdown and cause traffic congestion on the busy highway.

According to Nepal Police, special security arrangements have been put in place to prevent and control road accidents on the highways. The speed limit has been kept at 35 km/hr for tippers. The Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport has imposed a ban on lorries, cargo trucks, multi-axle tractors and trailers on the Kathmandu-Narayangadh-Kathmandu stretch until October 17, as they cause traffic congestion and accidents.

An analysis of statistics of the past three years released by Nepal Police shows that festive seasons are more vulnerable to road accidents. As many as 322 road accidents were reported between Ghatasthapana and Kojagrat Purnima in 2015, 355 in 2016 and 382 in 2017, killing 92, 101 and 104 people, respectively. Driver’s negligence, over-speeding, drink driving, recklessness of passengers and pedestrians, haphazard overtaking, overloading, violation of traffic rules and mechanical failure are the major causes of accidents.

Lamsal said a temporary traffic police post was established in Dhunibesi of Dhading to ease and facilitate smooth movement of vehicles leaving or entering Kathmandu. The post has been assigned to tackle daily traffic congestion on the Nagdhunga-Khani Khola stretch. Traffic congestion is seen regularly at Tinpiple, Piplamod, Jyaplekhola and Khatripauwa, leading to hours-long jams due to the sorry state of road infrastructure.

Departure data

  • Over 17,000 vehicles ferrying people out of valley daily
  • On an average, 2.5 lakh people leaving daily
  • At least three million expected to leave by Mahaashtami


A version of this article appears in print on October 16, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.

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