Microbuses, tempos flout quota for women, disabled

Kathmandu, July 28:

There is a provision, which states that three seats should be reserved for women and one seat for disabled in every microbus and tempo. But this provision has remained on paper, largely because women and disabled do not bother to assert their rights.

Many passengers do not bother to speak up even when transport workers treat them unfairly.

“With the crisis of petroleum products, very few vehicles are plying roads. To cope with this situation, passengers have to compromise with whatever space is available in microbuses,” said Ajay Shrestha, a transport worker affiliated to the Nepal Independent Transport Workers’ Organisation.

Though notices on reservation are written in microbuses, drivers do not bother to do their bit to make sure that women and disabled get their seats. Raju Thapa, who drives a microbus on the Lagankhel-Ratnapark route, said, “Without writing this notice, we do not get

vehicle passes from the Nepal Federation of Transport Federation.”

No one is moved by the plight of old women travelling in crammed vehicles. An elderly said no one bothers to vacate seat for her. She called on people to take initiatives for the implementation of the reservation provision.

Asked why she didn’t seek her seat, a girl travelling in a crammed tempo said she felt shy to do so.

Office-bearers of transport organisations also say women and disabled passengers do not bother to assert their rights. Coordinator of the National Federation of Transport Entrepreneurs Nir Ratna Newa said, “We introduced the reservation system for the benefit of women and disabled, but people concerned do not bother to assert their rights. It seems they love to stand in tempos and microbuses.”

“Women and disabled should fight for their rights. I wonder why they don’t speak up,” said advocate Jyoti Baniya. “Many people are unaware of the reservation provision. Programmes should be launched to make them aware of their rights,” Baniya added.