BAJURA, MARCH 10
Public vehicles are wantonly plying in the Karnali Corridor while relevant authorities remain clueless regarding such activities.
The jeeps are ferrying passengers way above their respective capacities, even loading passenger on the roof and hanging in the doors of the vehicles - all that without a valid permit.
They are sometimes found to be without a driving licence and charging fares without any set standards
The unpaved track-roads and overloaded vehicles have increased the risk for travellers in the corridor, said local Manalal BK. "There is not a single checkpoint in the whole stretch of the corridor," claimed another local Laxman Joshi.
On 2 January 2020, a Jeep had fallen below the road from Kalapada Bhir killing five people. One of the passengers who was rescued from that accident claimed that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the incident but there were no checking mechanisms in place.
The Bajura road section of the Karnali corridor that is being constructed by the Nepali Army has opened for the public a year and a half ago in consideration of the convenience of the locals. The road section is a little farther from the district headquarters, Martadi, which has resulted in a negligence of the authorities to maintain safety in the road section, leading to the haphazard operation of transportation by the jeep operators.
The vehicle operators are taking as much as Rs 2,500 for travelling over a 60-kilo metres stretch, claimed local Dhana Rokaya.
The corridor is still under construction and has yet to be handed to the government. However, due to the coordination of locals, local representatives and other stakeholders, the Nepali Army has allowed traffic movement in the section while determining Rs 11 per kilometres in fares which has not been honoured by the jeep operators.
Meanwhile, responding to concerns about passenger safety, the jeep operators claimed that the passengers themselves do not listen to staff and forcefully travel in the vehicle tops or hang in the doors.
"We have been receiving various complaints regarding the exorbitant fares charged to the passengers, we will soon start monitoring the road section to check the same," claimed Krishna Gaire, Chief District Officer of Bajura.
The Nepali Army was awarded the contract of construction of 145 kilometres long Karnali Corridor from Lalu of Kalikot to Sarisalla of Humla in March 2015, with 40 km falling in Kalikot, 44 km in Bajura and remaining in Humla.