It is estimated that six such centres are needed in the Kathmandu Valley alone
Kathmandu, September 4
High-tech equipment are already in place, a separate autonomous office has been set up and required human resources have been deputed. Yet, the Teku-based Vehicle Fitness Test Centre — envisioned five years ago to certify safety and road-worthiness of vehicles plying the roads of the Kathmandu Valley — hasn’t come into operation.
Built with an investment of Rs 60 million and completed in 2012, the fate of the modern vehicle test centre remains in limbo due to lack of coordination between the Department of Transport Management, Bagmati Zone Transport Management Office and VFTC Office in bringing it into operation by checking the status of the already installed machines, fixing the standards for tests and fees to be charged. On top of that, the centre is yet to get electricity connection.
“It has been more than six months since we requested DoTM to provide the documents of the centre and give necessary instructions, but we haven’t received anything so far,” said Ram Chandra Paudel, chief of the VFTC Office at Teku. He added that due to lack of old documents of the centre, they have not been able to check the equipment and Nepal Electricity Authority has remained silent on providing power connection despite repeated calls for the last five months.
Owing to the negligence in bringing the centre into operation to check the technical parameters of automobiles through computerised system and issue test certificates, even old vehicles are plying the metropolitan city roads freely. They have been causing air pollution and increasing the risks of road accidents. In fact, Nepal’s air quality ranks 177th out of 178 countries, better only than Bangladesh, according to Yale 2014 Environmental Performance Index.
The centre has been envisaged to effectively check the fitness of automobiles so that old, not duly repaired and unfit vehicles can be taken off the roads. The centre was envisaged to check the condition of exhaust emission, brakes, chassis, headlights, horn, suspension, wheel load, as well as to test the technical condition of the vehicles.
The centre has a capacity to test six vehicles per hour. In view of increased number of vehicles, it is estimated that six such centres are needed in the Valley alone. There are around 50,000 public vehicles operating in the Valley, including some 15,000 units that are more than 20 years old.
When asked about the delay in operation of the centre, DoTM officials said since a separate, dedicated and independent VFTC Office was set up to operate and manage the centre, it is the sole responsibility of the VFTC Office to make the centre ready for operation, rather than simply seeking a go-ahead to start fitness testing.
“Immediately after the handover of the centre, its documents were given to the Bagmati Zone Transport Management Office,” said Sarad Adhikari, director of DoTM. He added that the VFTC Office should keep all the equipment up to date to commence operation and in case of any problem with the machines, the DoTM can provide support to fix them.
A version of this article appears in print on September 05, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.