Swoyambhu Yatayat bus service resume stealthily

KATHMANDU: The buses operated by notorious Swoyambhu Yatayat have started plying on their regular routes by tampering their number plates and removing the original banner. Rajendra Rimal, chairman, Swoyambhu Yatayat Bus Operation Committee, however, denied the allegation.

“We are just ferrying school and college students,” he said.

"We tampered the banner head of some buses on security reasons as the public outrage continues and the recent Chabahil tragedy is yet to quell,” he added.

Sarad Chandra Poudel, Director General, Department of Transport Management, said, "So long as the buses are registered with the Office of Transport Management and granted road permit and are paying tax to the government, we can not take legal action.”

A commuter bus (Ba 2 Kha 593) belonging to Swoyambhu Yatayat on February 14 had bulldozed its way through peanut vendors and shoppers in Chabahil, killing two woman and injuring three others, two critically. Angry mob had set fire on four buses following the mishap.

SYBOC had decided to stay off roads until an amicable solution was found to the crisis triggered by recurring mishaps, the last one to occur at Chabahil.

Meanwhile, SYBOC is all set to resume its service with effect from Tuesday, bearing the same brand name.

"We are going to hit the road with tough rules and regulations. Earlier, we had daily wage earning driver. We'll now hire the drivers permanently to hold them responsible in case of mishaps and other wrongdoings," informed Rimal.

"The buses have been referred to workshop to ensure that they are mechanically sound and well. We have also collected the driving licenses of the new drivers to verify their authenticity with the Office of Transport Management."

SYBOC owns 250 buses in Kathmandu.

Meanwhile, local residents in Dhumbarai, Chabahil have performed Havan (fire ritual) and prayed to Bishwokarma, the God of machines, wishing for no more such road accidents and the eternal peace to those killed in road mishaps thus far. Seventy-two-year-old Bishnu Devi Timilsina had led the ritual. Around two hundred people, hailing from Dhumbarahi, were present on the occasion. According to MTPD data, Swoyambhu Yatayat alone was involved in 97 accidents in Chabahil area, killing six persons and injuring 12 others, in the last six months.