Indian vehicles banned on New Year eve

Pokhara, December 26

At a time when the entire country is gearing up to welcome a record number of visitors during the upcoming Visit Nepal Year 2020, a decision to ban Indian number plate vehicles in Pokhara, one of the most visited tourism destinations in the country during the New Year and Christmas celebrations, has created quite a controversy.

According to sources, the decision to ban Indian vehicles during Christmas and New Year was taken by Pokhara Tourism Council in consultation with the District Administration of Kaski, with a view to easing traffic congestion.

Meanwhile, the decision has drawn mixed reactions from tourism entrepreneurs.

Former chairperson of Western Regional Hotel Association Hari Gaire described the decision taken on the eve of the visit year as fatal. “Besides Indian vehicles, vehicles from other countries also arrive here, so what do we really want to suggest by singling out Indian vehicles and banning them?” he asked.

According to Chief District Officer Ramesh KC, the ban will be lifted once the traffic police are ready to manage the congestion resulting from influx of foreign vehicles. The council has requested Indian visitors to cooperate with the temporary provision and urged them to use local vehicles.

The controversial decision has even prompted Indian media to cover the news.

Pokhara Tourism Council Chairperson Chiranjivi Pokharel defended the decision citing the positive effects the decision would have on the local business of travel agencies, entrepreneurs and cabbies. “Only public vehicles have been banned, not private ones,” he explained.

“Indian vehicles don’t know the parking system and routes here, and will naturally cause traffic problem,” he said. “We’ll take another decision whether to lift the ban after Christmas and the New Year following consultation with stakeholders,” he added.