Agitators threaten to halt all vehicles KATHMANDU Aug 11: Even as hundreds of thousands of commuters suffered due to the indefinite strike called by four public transport unions, the agitating transporters have threatened to prevent all vehicles, including private and government, from plying the streets from Sunday, after the two-hour negotiations ended inconclusively on Friday.
The warning came after the second round of talks between the government and agitating transport entrepreneurs could not yield positive results as both sides remained adamant in their positions.
This means the latest public transport shutdown first clamped on Friday will continue on Saturday and keep 425,000 public vehicles off the road, affecting normal life across the country.
According to Tulsi Prasad Sitaula, secretary at the Ministry of Physical Planning, Works and Transport Management (MoPPWTM), the meeting between the government and transport entrepreneur representatives held at Singha Durbar Friday afternoon foundered after the government rejected the transport entrepreneurs´ demand for scrapping the powers that have been delegated to the Metropolitan Traffic Police.
"The demands of the transport entrepreneurs are not practical as they are seeking annulment of the provision for slapping fines of Rs 200 to Rs 1,000 for violation of traffic rules," Sitaula told media after the meeting. He further said the government is ready to discuss their other demands.
The other demands of transport entrepreneurs include formation of a separate transport ministry, recognition of the transport sector as an industry and annulment of the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division´s decision to reward 15 percent of revenues collected from motorists as fines to traffic police personnel.
However, the agitating entrepreneurs said that they won´t review their demand at any cost since the government was not being rational while formulating laws for ensuring smoother traffic flow. "Reviewing our demands is next to impossible," Dol Nath Khanal, general secretary of National Federation of Nepal Transport Entrepreneurs (NFNTE), told Republica, adding that the next meeting will be held only if the government changed its impracticable stance.
"The provision for slapping fines ranging from Rs 200 to Rs 1,000 is not practical as drivers of public vehicles, who need to be on the road throughout the day, cannot afford to fork out such huge amounts," Khanal said, referring to the four-month-old decision of the government to delegate authority to increase fines to the traffic police.
NFNTE along with All Nepal Transport Workers Association, Nepal Yatayat Workers Association and Nepal Yatayat Independent Workers´ Association joined hands Wednesday to declare an indefinite strike from August 10, accusing the government of failing to address the problems of transport entrepreneurs.
As black-plated vehicles -- a broad categorization of public transport vehicles -- opted to refrain from regular service, Nagdhunga checkpoint, the main entry and exit point for Kathmandu Valley, recorded only 200 private vehicles passing through on Friday.
Normally, 3,000-5,000 vehicles use the Nagdhunga point every day, according to Metropolitan Traffic Police at Nagdhunga.