Optimistic plans and programmes are always welcome. When the relief to the majority of the people is concerned, sincere government initiatives can do much. In this direction, the latest government move has been to make third party insurance mandatory from September 1. For many, the third party reference may seem fuzzy but going by the regularity of the bandhs and strikes owing to road mishaps that either proves fatal or where someone is injured, it is one definitive step that has been taken albeit after a long delay. The government seems to be assured that with this rule in place, the tendency to go for strikes and closures of the highways and road when road accidents take place will be discouraged. The reason is that the compensation part will be borne by the insurance company concerned. This is a bright lining considering the fact that the increasing number of accidents coupled with a similar or more number of victims has brought about considerable disruption in the smooth traffic movement, and at times violence too has flared up. It was a great test of the administration in setting things right between the grieved party and the vehicle owners or company. Now that the mandatory scheme as per Vehicle Insurance Rate Regulation 2009 will be comprehensive insurance policy taking into consideration the “third party” or the protection against the claims of another when the insured buys the liability cover. This means that even the deceased’s family or the relatives of the injured can be compensated with a certain fixed amount from the insurer.
The unique feature, namely the compensation to the third party, has raised hope in the administration that the regular spate of road closures or bandhs will be done away with as the victim of a mishap or his/her family will receive the compensation from the insurance company, after verification, instead of bargaining with the vehicle operator, for days on end as experience has shown. In the meanwhile, the general people have to suffer because the road remains closed. This is but one important step taken by the government in making the Third Party Insurance mandatory on the vehicle owners and operators. It is also in keeping with the demands of the changing times when the life of everyone is valuable but tragic incidents happen by chance and cannot be eliminated totally. Yet, the growing insecurity on the highways and roads needs to be studied carefully and the various factors that contribute to unfortunate accidents analysed and action plan implemented to bring down the number of such incidents.
Herein, the specific insurance coverage deemed compulsory as per the new government regulation is a step in the right direction. But, there is also the need to intensify the traffic police interventions in bringing the erring drivers to book, get the Roads Department working round the clock to keep the roads and highways in order, and a wide-ranging awareness campaign among the people about the traffic rules and adherence to it. The traffic police force must be upgraded, and it must be trained not to turn a blind eye even to a minor traffic offense. Things will get better, hopefully.
The doctors’ strike at Bir Hospital had compelled patients to seek treatment elsewhere. Bir Hospital is the oldest hospital in the country providing treatment at nominal costs. Therefore, many patients seek treatment and admission here. This health facility has some of the best doctors and possesses some of the most modern equipment. The doctors had resorted to a strike compelling the Nepal Academy of Medical Sciences to give in to some of their demands. No doubt, the doctors were aware of the consequences when they resorted to striking knowing very well the hardship they would be causing to people coming for treatment. Since the doctors provide indispensable health services, by refusing to serve the sick, they had added to their suffering.
However, now the doctors are back on duty. It would appear that those providing important services like the doctors should not be disrupting their services no matter however genuine their demands may be. If they have any grievances then they should opt for other means of protests and not for such action as halting their services. The doctors are respected members of the society, and those in other professions look up to them as role models.