Surge in outbound traffic from capital

Kathmandu, June 26

As the second phase of local polls nears, the number of people leaving the capital city for their home districts to cast votes is growing significantly.

The second phase of elections is scheduled to be held on June 28 in 334 local levels of 35 districts of Provinces 1, 5 and 7.

Over 75,000 people left Kathmandu Valley in the last two days, according to Traffic Police Sub-inspector Anup Raut, who is posted at Thankot check-post. He said at least 38,000 people were leaving Kathmandu on a daily basis these days compared to 29,000 on normal days.

Raut said over 35,500 passengers left Kathmandu Valley yesterday, while 39,500 left today.

He said the number of people leaving the capital city had come down a few days ago due to the risk of landslide along the Mugling–Narayangadh road section but as the polling day neared, the number of people leaving Kathmandu Valley had increased significantly again.

This outbound traffic has encouraged bus operators to carry more passengers than the available seats, prompting traffic police to take necessary action against those operators.

Kabita Pokharel, 40, hails from Tikuri in Pyuthan and is a teacher in Kathmandu. She said she was going to cast her vote in the local elections that would be held after a gap of 20 years.

Govinda KC, 48, of Jhapa district also told this correspondent at Thankot that he was going to vote in local

level polls.

Even the major political parties — Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, CPN-Maoist Centre — have reserved buses to transport voters to the districts free of cost, said bus operators.

“Due to the elections, a lot of people are leaving Kathmandu Valley, said Dhanaraj Thapa, a bus entrepreneur associated with Koshi Deluxe.

Ram Ghimire, who is associated with the Koshi Bus Entrepreneur Association, said bus entrepreneurs had been doing brisk business for the last few days, as the number of passengers heading east had surged. He, however, added that the number of passengers from other districts to the capital city had gone down.

Ganesh Thapa, a bus entrepreneur, said the number of passengers had increased by over 50 per cent of late. “During monsoon season, we do not get adequate number of passengers, but these days all our seats get booked,” said Thapa.

Another bus entrepreneur Krishna Prasad Subedi said bus entrepreneurs had incurred loss due to landslide along the Mugling–Narayangadh road section but for the last one week entrepreneurs had been making a fast buck. He said there would be a surge in passenger numbers on the Kathmandu route after the polls, as those who went to their home districts would return to the capital city.

Brijesh Singh, another bus entrepreneur, said all the tickets of his buses were sold out. “I have switched off my mobile phone to avoid calls from those seeking bus tickets,” said Singh.