June 22: It has been found that the transport entrepreneurs have been charging three times more than the normal fare for passengers entering and leaving the Kathmandu Valley for urgent work during the current crisis of Covid-19.
Passengers who are compelled to travel due to various problems have been further affected by the arbitrary hike in fares.
Saroj Rawal, who is from Tikapur in Kailali and is currently living in Lanchaur, Kathmandu, had to go home after his father passed away due to coronavirus. A microbus traveling for Kailali from Gongbu bus park charged him Rs 5,000 more than the normal charge. However, as he was required to travel, he was compelled to pay the exorbitant fare.
"I didn't even receive a ticket. When the police asked me about the fare, I was forced to tell them that I had paid Rs 1,500. Because I did not have any other option, I did as the driver told me to do," he said. The fare from Kathmandu to Tikapur is Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000.
Naresh Shahi, who arrived in Kathmandu from Surkhet due to similar circumstances, also said that he paid Rs 3,000 more to the bus driver. Earlier, the fare from Surkhet to Kathmandu was Rs 2,000 under normal circumstances.
According to the victims, the vehicles carrying passengers are running smoothly with the pass provided by the district administration offices and looting the passengers who are in trouble. However, the Association of Transport Entrepreneurs claim that private vehicles are not involved in such activities.
FNCCI General Secretary Saroj Sitaula said that the vehicles with red number plates were more active in such activities and were charging exorbitant fares. He is of the view that such a problem has arisen with the district administration office making arrangements for allowing the movement of vehicles unnecessarily.
On the one hand, the transport entrepreneurs say such work may have been done in collusion with the local levels and district administration, but the police say that they are taking necessary action against such wrongdoings. Superintendent of Police Shyam Krishna Adhikari, Information Officer of the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, Kathmandu, said that action would be taken against the vehicle owners if the passengers complained about the issue with the police.