Kathmandu, February 12
The House of Representatives held a debate on a proposal of urgent public importance tabled by lawmaker Dila Sangraula.
The motion, seconded by lawmakers Sanjay Kumar Gautam and Rangamati Shahi, calls for road safety in the country. As many as 25 lawmakers took part in the debate and demanded that the government implement the recommendations set forth in the proposal.
The lawmaker, who represents the main opposition Nepali Congress in the Parliament, mentioned in the proposal that road accidents were on the rise due to ‘unsafe roads and insensitive government mechanisms.’
Responding to the proposal, Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Raghubir Mahaseth said the government was committed to doing more on road safety. “I assure you that the government will seriously deal with the issues mentioned in the proposal,” he said. According to him, the government has drafted the Road Safety Council Act and is doing groundwork to amend the Motor Vehicle and Transport Management Act to make it contemporary.
“The government is going to finalise the National Transport Policy within 15 days and is serious about enhance road safety,” he said. The proposal stated that 8,982 persons were killed in 40,777 road accidents across the country over a period of five years (2013/14 to 2017/18). On an average, 2,000 people are killed in road accidents every year. Many accidents go unreported mainly because the parties involved settle the matter themselves.
“There were around 100,000 vehicles in Nepal some 26 years ago when the Motor Vehicle and Transport Management Act and Rules were enacted. Still the same laws have been governing the transport sector. Therefore, timely amendments should be made to the laws to reduce accidents and enhance road safety,” Sangraula said. There are over 3.1 million vehicles registered in the country now.
The proposal has also raised the issue of road accidents involving tippers. The proposal has stressed the need to make the roads and travel safer, ensure post-accident rescue and care and reduce the deaths by half by 2020 as mentioned in the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Similarly, the proposal stresses establishment of Road Safety Council, strictly enforce the provision of two drivers in long-route vehicles, upgrade driving schools and bring them under the CTEVT, vehicle fitness centres in all provinces and Kathmandu, make it mandatory for both the rider and pillion-rider to wear helmet, place traffic signs and safety equipment in necessary locations and determine the road standards, among others.
A version of this article appears in print on February 13, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.