Kathmandu, Sept 16: Lawmakers speaking in the meeting of the Development Committee of the Legislature-Parliament today echoed the problem the people are facing ahead of the great festival Dasain â€“ lack of bus and air tickets.
As the greatest festival is only a couple weeks away, people from districts outside of the Kathmandu Valley are concerned whether they would be able to get home in time for the festivals due to the shortage of bus tickets.
The committee had held discussions on the ways of making road travel safer and hassle-free during the time of the festivals as Dasain, Tihar, Chhath, Bakar Id etc.
Speaking in the meeting, Acting Director General of the Department of Transport Management Sharad Adhikari, however, tried to play down the gravity of the problem. He claimed that bus tickets are available.
Bus operators had opened the advance booking of tickets from September 10. So far, 110,000 people have booked the tickets in advance. The transport companies that would be waiting for their turn on the day of Phoolpati, Ashtami, Mahanawami and Bada Dasain have, however, declared that advance booking of tickets with them has closed.
“Except for those transport companies that operate their services in turns, the other companies have not closed the ticket booking. Tell me if you do not get bus tickets, I will try to manage a ticket,” Adhikari tried to allay the lawmakers’ worries.
He said a 50-day transportation plan of action has been implemented, preparations were on to press more buses in service for the four days on which the demand for tickets is maximum and works for the smooth operation of transport services are underway with the establishment of the Help Desk.
But the lawmakers were not convinced and would buy the Acting Director General’s assurances.
According to the Metropolitan Traffic Police Office, Ramshahpath, some 1.9 million people exited Kathmandu Valley for various destinations during these festivals last year. The office estimates that that number would reach some 2.5 million this year.
It has suggested adding minimum of 6,000 buses to the already existing fleet to haul this number of people during the festival time. There are hardly 700 buses in queue at present.
Director General Adhikario said that the Department has time and again urged the transport operators to operate additional buses during the festivals.
The parliamentary committee has directed the government to make all the necessary preparations for making the travel safer and strengthening the road safety during the festivals. It also decided to form a monitoring committee for that purpose.
The meeting was chaired by committee president Rabindra Adhikari.
Lawmakers Kalpana Sob, Bhakta Bahadur Bishwakarma (Khapangi), Guru Burlakoti, Ram Chandra Pokharel, Angdawa Sherpa and Ganesh Pahadi put a litany of problems regarding the country’s transport sector, including the perennial problem of lack of buses during festivals.