Public vehicles fleecing passengers

Bajura, January 20

Public vehicles plying the Karnali Corridor in Bajura have been fleecing passengers by charging transport fare indiscriminately.

Transport operators were found charging around Rs 2,500 for 60 kilometres road section from Pilichaur of Bajura to Jitegada of Kalikot. An officer of Nepali Army said jeep operators had agreed to charge Rs 11 per kilometre as fare from passengers.

Besides collecting fare arbitrarily, passenger jeeps plying along the road stretch are even found carrying more passengers than their capacity. Some of these vehicles are even driven by those who do not have a driving licence, but the authorities concerned have become mere spectators. A local, Man Lal BK, from Himali Rural Municipality said jeep owners kept passengers even on the roofs putting thousands of lives at high risk.

Laxman Joshi of Budhinanda Municipality said presence of traffic police along the road section was almost nil. “Traffic police do not even carry out occasional security checking along the road section.”

Jeeps were brought into operation along the under-construction road section by the NA from March 21 for convenience of the public, but lack of effective monitoring has put thousands of lives at risk.

Dhan Rokaya from Himali Rural Municipality said the place was far away from Martadi and police administration did not pay attention to the place. He said jeep operators have kept the passengers even on the roofs and passengers were compelled to travel in risky circumstances. Almost all jeeps with the capacity of five seats carry more than 20 passengers. Meanwhile, jeep drivers said they had to keep passengers beyond the capacity as there were very few public vehicles and passengers themselves forced the drivers to do so.

DSP Tanka Prasad Bhattarai at District Police Office, Bajura, said a permanent traffic police post would be set up at Pokhare after the winter season. Chief District Officer Ganga Prasad Neupane said traffic police had been informed about the issues of indiscriminate transport fare and they had assured they would look into the matter and sort out the problem.

The Nepali Army was entrusted with the responsibility of completing the Karnali Corridor.