Highway to hell

Though the biggest Nepali festival, Dashain, is just a few days away, people, especially those living in the capital, do not seem ready to head home for the celebrations. It is reported that most passengers have cancelled their journeys, as they do not want to be stranded on the highways or risk their lives, being caught up in violent activities — all of which have not been so uncommon in the recent past due to intermittent bandhs and protests called by various political groups. Consequently, the number of buses plying outside the capital has also declined by half. Taking into account the security situation, transport entrepreneurs have even warned the Home Ministry that they will halt transport services if it does not make adequate security arrangements immediately.

Keeping in view the increasing incidents of transport strikes, the interim parliament recently

made an amendment to the Local Administration Act 2029 with an additional provision to punish those who obstruct vehicular movement on the highways. The Home Ministry has also issued directives to the security agencies to leave no stone unturned to facilitate the movement of passengers during the festivities. Despite that, there does not seem to be any semblance of security, as passengers are shying away from undertaking bus journeys. The government, instead of offering hollow assurances, should come forward to carry out its promises immediately to make travel by road safe.