The Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs has demanded that the government allow small vehicles to operate within Kathmandu valley.

The district administration offices of Kathmandu valley has allowed public vehicles with a capacity of more than 16 passengers to operate.

“Small vehicle entrepreneurs have been affected as badly as daily wage workers. They should be allowed to operate their vehicles,” said Yogendra Nath Karmacharya, president of FNNTE.

The federation had even submitted a memo to the DAO, Kathmandu, demanding resumption of operation of small vehicles with less than 16 seats.

“In the transportation sector, micro bus and tempo drivers have been hit the hardest due to the pandemic as most of them are self-employed. We have to think of small entrepreneurs as well. They live hand to mouth,” he said.

Moreover, there is higher demand for small vehicles on inner roads of the valley, he added.

“Transmission of coronavirus can be prevented in small vehicles also if health safety protocols are followed,” Karmacharya said.

As per statistics of the Department of Transport Management, almost 1.5 million people are employed in domestic transportation industry. While transport entrepreneurs claimed they had incurred losses of billions of rupees, the official data on loss has not been calculated yet.

More than 80 per cent of the investment in the sector is financed through banks and financial institutions. “As public transportation service has been completely halted, transport entrepreneurs are unable to clear their instalments.

Small vehicle owners have been affected even more,” he added.

Along with FNNTE, Nepal Transportation Workers’ Associations, All Nepal Transport Workers Union and Free Nepal Transport Workers Union submitted a joint request letter today to Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Basanta Nemwang.

In the request letter, entrepreneurs have stated that either the government should allow them to ply vehicles or they themselves will begin all long-haul and short-haul public vehicle services from September 16.

They have also requested the government to monitor private vehicles ferrying passengers, said Ramchandra Karki, president of ANTWU.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on September 12, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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