The Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) has urged the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) to allow the new 1,500 cabs to be operated in the quake-hit districts instead of in Kathmandu Valley in a bid to improve lives at quake-hit districts.
In a letter to DoTM, KMC said that an additional 1,500 cabs will worsen the situation of traffic congestion in the Valley and therefore, the office has urged the department to allow the quake victims having taxi permits to operate their new cabs in their own districts.
“KMC has been promoting means of mass transportation in the Valley and discouraging smaller vehicles, as the number of such small vehicles is already high in the Valley. Giving operational routes to 1,500 additional taxis will further deteriorate the problem of vehicle congestion in the Valley,” said Gyanendra Karki, spokesperson for KMC, adding that these additional taxis should be given operational routes in areas beyond the Valley — in cities of earthquake-hit 14 districts.
DoTM officials said that the department is obliged to allow the operation of these new cabs in Kathmandu Valley as the decision to issue taxi permits for Kathmandu Valley to quake survivors was made by the Cabinet. “If quake survivors are not to be allowed to operate their cabs on the Valley roads, the issue has to be discussed among stakeholders and should be taken to the Cabinet for approval,” Roop Narayan Bhattarai, director general of DoTM, said.
Also, Bhattarai said that traffic congestion in the Capital can be minimized even after allowing these new taxis to operate in the Valley. “However, there has to be a strong coordination between KMC, DoTM, Traffic Police, government and other stakeholders to address the problem of traffic chaos in Kathmandu,” he added.
The government had earlier announced that 1,500 new taxi permits would be issued to quake survivors in Kathmandu Valley to generate livelihood opportunities for them. DoTM had received nearly 150,000 applications from quake survivors of 14 earthquake-affected districts for the same.
As a result of the high number of applications, DoTM has been issuing taxi permits to quake survivors through a lucky draw event.