Paint zebra crossings in 15 days: House committee

KATHMANDU: The Development Committee under the Legislature-Parliament has directed bodies concerned to build zebra crossings at a distance of 120 meters within the next 15 days.

At a meeting on road safety organised  by the Committee, the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport was directed to work in collaboration with the Ministry of Urban Development to set criteria for highway roads.The Committee also instructed the authority concerned to promote road safety and to repair  street lamps and to make diplomatic efforts to make sure the construction of pavements along the foreign embassies based in the Capital. .

DIG Mingmar Lama, Chief of Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, shared during the meeting that poor road infrastructure, encroachment on footpath, haphazard parking, lack of awareness on road safety, rush of vehicles and rush by pedestrians to cross the road are among major reasons behind increasing rate of traffic accidents in the Kathmandu Valley.

Statistics published by the Division shows that a total of 166 people lost their life in road traffic accidents in the Valley last fiscal year. Similarly, 5,668 cases of traffic accidents were reported in this period, in which 275 individuals had been gravely injured and the number of those suffering minor injuries was 3,901.

Sherpa also added that in this backdrop the Division was forced to intensify action against traffic rule violators. The Division has fined some 569,815 vehicles for violating traffic rules in the past ten months of the current fiscal. Earlier, the Division had decided to ban honking since April 14, 2017. Since then, as of Thursday, 5,507 vehicles were fined for violating traffic rules.

Moreover, traffic rule violations by vehicles carrying VIPs and those bearing the white and yellow (government) number plates have posed a challenge in traffic management and road safety, the Division stated.

Committee President Rabindra Adhikari said bearing in mind widespread complaints regarding difficulties in traffic management during the movement of five VVIPs, the authority concerned was directed for simplification.

Inclusion of road safety in school textbooks, criteria for driving schools, and establishment of a resource and traffic training center within the Division were pointed out as some of the solutions.

The Division has come up with a special action plan to cope with the adversities seen in the traffic management and security of road commuters, adding  around Rs 6. 76 billion is required to implement the plan.

Lawmakers Bhakta Bahadur Khapangi Magar, Aangtawa Sherpa, Shanta Manawi, Janardan Dhakal, Ganesh Pahadi , Ram Krishna Ghimire, Anita Devkota, Mohan Baniya, and Guru Prasad Burlakoti drew the attention of the authorities concerned towards the trend of giving no priority to pedestrians even on zebra crossing.

In the meeting, Inspector General of Police Prakash Aryal demanded lawmakers increase fines for traffic rule violators as it would, according to him, make people more alert to the traffic rules.