October 3: The number of people leaving the Kathmandu valley for their respective home towns and villages to celebrate the Dashan festival has declined this year. The number of people entering the valley seems to outnumber the people leaving the valley. It has been speculated that due to the prevalent fear of Covid-19 infection, there is absence of excitement for the Dashain festival resulting in decrease in the number of people travelling to their villages.
According to the data provided by the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, a total of 227,500 passengers left the Kathmandu Valley in 6,500 vehicles on October 1, while 238,000 passengers entered the Kathmandu Valley in 6,800 vehicles on the same day.
On that day, the number of passengers entering the valley was 10,500 more than that of people leaving the valley. Spokesperson of the Division, SP Sanjeev Sharma Das said that the number of passengers returning to their respective homes to celebrate Dashain this year is less compared to last year due to the impact of Covid-19 pandemic. According to him, the number of passengers entering the Kathmandu Valley on September 30 was also more than the number of passengers leaving.
The government has opened advance ticket booking for long-distance passenger vehicles by increasing the fare by 28 percent since September 17. Saroj Sitaula, the general secretary of the Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs (FNNTE), said that the number of passengers leaving the Kathmandu Valley from September 17 to 28 was only around 300,000. According to him, the number of passengers leaving the valley compared to those entering is still less.
He said that the number of passengers leaving the valley has decreased due to poor road conditions caused by rain in some hill districts. He said that vehicles from some hill districts were entering the Kathmandu valley as late as 2 am.
According to transport entrepreneurs, passengers are not showing any interest in booking tickets in advance. According to bus operator Narendra Neupane, the number of passengers going home is significantly less compared to previous years even though there are only four days left for Ghatsthapana, the first day of the Dashain festival.