The syndicate system goes also against the principles of a market economy where competition is a dominant feature
When some major crisis or accident occurs, triggering public outrage at official mismanagement, government leaders and officials seem to go into a flurry of activities and high words of improving the things.
But often, it has been seen that after the heat of the public anger subsides, things come back to where they were until some big new catastrophe strikes again.
Similar questions have been raised after Monday’s bus accident in Kavre in which two and a half dozen people were killed and more than three dozen injured. Road accidents have been showing an increasing curve.
According to police records, over the past five years, over nine hundred people have lost their lives in road mishaps. This figure exceeds the death toll in Maoist-related violence during the same period.
In the fiscal 2015/16 alone, the country witnessed a daily average of 27 road accidents and five deaths.
Road traffic management encompasses a large number of aspects all of which need to be given proper attention if road accidents are to be minimized, transport is to be made smooth, the travelling public are to be ensured a comfortable journey, and a fair deal is to be given to all stakeholders.
At the same time the laws and regulations and the other rules of the game should be observed by all concerned.
Road accidents are caused by one or more of these factors. The entrenched syndicate system operated by transport owners along most of the routes of the country is often cited as one of the major factors. But the syndicate system is a source of other evils as well.
It is indeed a cartel of transport owners monopolizing routes, controlling the number of vehicles to be operated, stifling competition, packing their vehicles with passengers beyond their bearing capacity, often plying vehicles in a bad condition, depriving the passengers of their right of choice, checking price competition and so on.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal instructed Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transportation Ramesh Lekhak to take all possible measures, including ending the syndicate system, to minimize road accidents in the country.
The minister on his part had already instructed the officials concerned to ensure that public vehicles did not carry more passengers than the seats available. As a result, police are reported to have initiated action in that direction.
Whether such spurts of activity become a regular feature, however, remains to be seen. If the past is any guide, the present activism is likely to fizzle out in weeks.
Over the past decades, government had from time to time tried to end the syndicate system but they had failed. It showed a lack of will and determination. And the syndicate operators are also often reported to have political and official patronage.
The syndicate system goes also against the principles of a market economy where healthy competition among the providers of services is a dominant feature.
Whatever government’s past records, the present coalition deserves the benefit of the doubt regarding its expression of commitment to end the syndicate system.
But it should be judged by its action.
It is high time that Nepal had an advanced veterinary hospital. The news is that if things go as planned we could very well have such a hospital in Kathmandu by July 15, 2019.
Among other things, the hospital would be equipped with 24 hours’ emergency treatment, ECG machine, ultrasound machine, X-ray machine and would also be able to carry out endoscopy and surgeries when required.
The present veterinary hospital at Kathmandu is too small for larger animals like cows and buffaloes.
Most of the animals brought to the hospital are pet dogs. Of the 40 to 50 animals brought to the hospital daily, 70 percent are dogs.
Once the hospital is built it would be able to provide treatment for large animals like cows and buffaloes and if required even elephants and rhinos.
The present hospital earns around Rs. 40,000 every month through registration fees of the animals and birds treated there whereas it spends around Rs. 400,000 in a month.
With an advanced veterinary hospital many precious animals including the bigger ones could be treated. The company selected to build the hospital was out of 31.
Therefore, the hospital should materialize.