Mishap-handling tactics trouble transporters

Kathmandu, October 31:

When a road accident occurs and a person dies, relatives of the victim organise chakka jams, demand money from vehicle owners as compensation and manhandle transport workers and the row ends only after the owner pays certain amount to the deceased’s relatives. This has almost become a rule to settle disputes over road mishaps.

Transport entrepreneurs blame the government for chaos in transport sector. They have long been asking the government to come up with a proper policy that could provide justice to both the parties.

As per the existing law, a driver can be imprisoned for 10 years if an accident occurred because of his negligence. The driver can be jailed for a year or be made to pay Rs 2,000 as fine to the victim’s side if the accident is unintentional. The offender has to provide Rs 10,000 as funeral expenditure and ‘basic accident insurance’ to the victim’s family — Rs 75,000 as per the Vehicles and Transportation Management Act and Insurance Directives. “But the rule has remained on papers only. In almost all fatal accidents, transport owners have been forced to pay heavy amount as compensation to the victims,” said Krishna Prasad Adhikari, general secretary of the Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs (FNNTE).

“The vehicle owners have been paying Rs 15,000 to Rs 40,000 as premium for the insurance of vehicle,” he said, adding, “If the premium is insufficient, it can be increased to make the insurance for the lives of victims justifiable.” He warned entrepreneurs would launch agitation if measures were not taken to end such practices.