Kathmandu, March 22

The government has issued the ‘Procedure for Security Operation to Clear Obstruction on the Highways’ which empowers the local administration and security bodies to take stringent action against any person or group involved in obstructing traffic on the highways.

According to the procedure, it aims to tackle the bandh, protest and strikes that various groups organise on the highways to pressure the government to address their demands, besides preventing theft, robbery, loot, extortion, and kidnapping of and threat to passengers, and arson, vandalism, blast in vehicles and hit-and-run cases.

The procedure also includes the strategy for clearing highways at the time of disasters like earthquake, flood and landslide.

The procedure empowers the government to operate all security agencies in an integrated manner on the highways to ensure smooth flow of traffic and clear the obstruction within 10 minutes.

There shall be an 11-member Highway Obstruction Clearance District Coordination Committee led by the concerned chief district office, consisting of representatives from Nepali Army, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force, National Investigation Department and chief administrative office of local level, among others.

If there is any obstruction on the highway due to protest or strike, the concerned police office shall provide information thereof to the CDO. “At the initial stage, traffic police will make arrangements for diversion, if available, on the highway. Members of the district coordination committee will use loudhailer to convince the groups involved in obstructing the road to shun the unlawful activity. If the demonstrators refuse to clear the obstruction by themselves, security officials will issue a warning of action,” the procedure states.

In case the obstruction continues even after the request of concerned officials, the concerned CDO will order the security officials to exercise the powers conferred by the Local Administration Act and Essential Services Operation Act. As per the Local Administration Act, security personnel may open fire on ‘troublemakers’. “Any person involved in anarchy shall be arrested for legal action under the prevailing laws,” it states.

A person, who obstructs the delivery or operation of essential services, will be liable to an imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or a fine of up to Rs 200 or both. Road and transportation are among the essential services determined by the government.

If the situation goes out of control of the local administration, the concerned CDO may request Nepali Army for necessary assistance.