5-yr-old drives on highway

KAVRE: Everyone here in Banepa Municipality was flabbergasted by a rather astounding deed of a five-year-old local boy Ishan Shrestha as he drove a vehicle in the busy Araniko highway today.

A large numbers of onlookers who thronged the road watched the spectacle, with their mouths agape, as Ishan drove past the vehicle through the city area.

Starting from Banepa based Chardobato, the courageous boy took the vehicle to Purano Bazaar and Tindobato, and got down there. Traffic police had offered escorting. Deputy Chairman of Constituent Assembly Purna Kumari Suebdi, who came to witness the child's feat, also stayed in the vehicle - with astonishment and fear. The valiant boy, with Subedi aboard, took the vehicle round the Dhaneshwor Temple.

"Ishan's skill is praiseworthy," Subedi, who was in the Maruti van said, adding, "The government should encourage such extraordinary talent." She had also handed over a felicitation letter to the boy. Subedi, however, said that Ishan could not be given the driver's license due to his under-age.

He learnt the driving skill with the help of his father Samudra Kaji. With the objective of exposing the child's talent, Kavre Newa Pucha Bhota Banepa - an organisation of Newar people -- organised the programme this morning. A resident of Banepa Municipality Ward No 10, Ishan is first grader in Kathmandu University Medical School. He had started driving the vehicle when he was just three. He daily takes his father to Banepa based Dhaneshwor Temple and Chandeshwori Temple, according to his parents.

"I used to be scared earlier," the exuberant child said, recalling, "Two years ago, the vehicle had fallen into sewage when my legs could not reach to the brake pedal." An elated father Samudra Kaji said, "He always used to be in the steering wheel. Seeing his interest, I taught him the know-how gradually." Ishan said he could easily take the vehicle in Banepa, Dhulikhel and even to Panauti.