THT 10 YEARS AGO: Bike modification craze can kill you

Kathmandu, December 28, 2007

If you have bought your teenager a trendy two-wheeler and the very next day he or she wants to get it modified to give it a sporty look, then advise: Don’t. It’s not just to save a few thousand rupees but to avoid fatal accidents, and it is illegal.

During August 2006 to July 2007, the police registered 944 motorbike accidents, more than 40 per cent of the total accidents in the Kathmandu valley, according to Metropolitan Police Traffic Division. “Most of these bikes were modified in one way or the other,” Traffic SSP Bhisma Prasai told this daily.

Modification of the vehicle in any way is illegal and the owners are liable for legal action, said Prasai. “In the past one year, we have fined over 700 drivers, who had modified their bikes,” he said. The police say they have also organised workshops for mechanics to raise awareness that modification in any form is not allowed.

The repairmen in Kathmandu, however, say they find the young boys’ urge for changing the design irresistible, for it fetches them money and they can try their skills and put their creativity to use — albeit at the client’s risk. And, the bikers say it’s trendy and fun riding the bike after modification.

“All my friends have had their bikes modified,” Campion Academy student Pranab Pradhan said. Sagar Limbu of United Academy blames peer pressure for this rising trend.

Post-dated fiat on federal republic passed

Kathmandu, December 28, 2007

The Parliament today passed the third amendment bill in the Interim Constitution by an overwhelming majority, declaring Nepal a federal democratic republic, subject to endorsement by the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly.

Speaker Subash Nemwang authenticated the Bill soon after the parliament endorsed the same to make it a law. While 270 lawmakers voted in favour of the amendment bill, three lawmakers — Pashupati SJB Rana and Krishna Pratap Malla of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party and Pari Thapa of Rastriya Janamorcha Nepal — voted against the bill. Rastriya Janashakti Party Chairman Surya Bahadur Thapa and lawmaker Renu Yadav abstained from the voting.

Many lawmakers did not show up for the voting as they were out of Nepal, or at least outside of Kathmandu. However, Nepali Congress founding leader and former prime minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai and former Speaker Taranath Ranabhat were conspicuously absent. Ten Congress lawmakers and 15 UML and Maoist leaders were absent.

The government had tabled “Nepal’s Interim Constitution (3rd amendment) Bill 2007” in the Parliament on December 24, seeking to overcome constitutional hurdles to declare Nepal a federal democratic republic and hold elections to the 601-member Constituent Assembly by mid-April.