Syndicates wrecking public transport

Kathmandu, June 22:

Student leaders and consumer welfare activists today demanded an end to syndicate system in public transport services.

They said such a move would help control the skyrocketing transport fares by letting free competition in the sector.

“Syndicate system should end immediately to open space for healthy competition among the entrepreneurs,” said president of the All Nepal National free Students Union Thakur Gaire while addressing an interaction here today.

“A special mechanism should be developed to stop the misuse of student identity cards,” Gaire said.

He also urged the government to promote electric vehicles.

Secretary of Forum for Protection of Consumers Rights Nepal, Netra Dhital, claimed that some transport entrepreneurs had been demanding an end to syndicates and cartel system so that they could run buses at competitive fares throughout the nation.

He said the consumers had provided land for the roads and tax to lay roads, with the help of which the transport entrepreneurs were fleecing the consumers.

Dhital claimed that the entrepreneurs had used muscle power to create pressure on government officials to decide in their favour.

Khageswor Bohora, general secretary of Nepal Petroleum Transporters Federation said they were forced to stop the transportation of fuel from today because the government remained indifferent to their demands.

Shiva Prasad Ghimire, president of Nepal Petroleum Dealers Association stressed on the need for revamping the structure of the Nepal Oil Corporation.

He also said the NOC should float 51 per cent shares to the public and let interested people invest to help end the existing problems.

“We will not sell fuel from tomorrow,” Ghimire said, adding that the government should implement all the earlier agreements made with the association.

Lekhnath Neupane, president of All Nepal National Independent Students Union-Revolutionary said the businessmen and professionals are hell-bent to grab everything during the present phase of transition.

“We won’t accept the transport fare if raised by more than 25 per cent,” he said, adding that 17 per cent increase in the student discount when the fare is raised by 25 per cent was justifiable.

He also criticised the attack on Chief Justice and his car during the protest by ANNFSU on Thursday. Neupane said the transport entrepreneurs have been vandalising private vehicles even when the government has agreed to raise fare by 25 per cent.

Pradip Poudel of Nepal Students Union warned that the students will forward more demands and launch stronger protests if the present demands are not met immediately.