Finally, after a long debate in the parliament, the Government of Nepal has implemented new rules that ban the use of old cars if they are older than 20 years, in the Kathmandu Valley.
Though the idea was born two years ago, the Government of Nepal finally enforced the decision on February 28th. This legislation is set to put more than 12,000 vehicles off the road, forever. The Department of Transport Management has said that it will work with the traffic police department to phase out Kathmandu Valley’s old cars as they have been a major cause of the growing air pollution in the Kathmandu Valley.
New Legislation for Old Carsin Nepal
The implementation of this new decision means that traffic congestion in the Kathmandu Valley will reduce, especially in places like Kalanki, Koteshwor, Chabahill, and Teku, where the traffic congestion is severe. An 8.4 kilometers journey from Kalanki to Koteshwor takes nearly one and a half hour during the peak hours (10-12am and 4-6pm).
This new decision from the Government of Nepal is expected to be a step towards a reduction in traffic congestion caused by a high number of vehicles, and the pollution caused by engines of the old cars that have not been maintained by their owners. The Guardian stated that Nepal ranked 177th out of 178 in terms of air quality in 2014, only better than Bangladesh, and old cars contributed to this to a large extent. This decision from the Government and related authorities is one step towards cleaner air in the Kathmandu Valley, the place where air pollution is more severe, in comparison to other places.
The Results of the Legislation
This decision seems to be taken very seriously by both the government and vehicle owners. In my one hour of observation of the Balkhu Road-one of the busiest road in the valley, I could spot only a few vehicles that seemed to be older than the rest. Also, the traffic congestion seemed to be a little less severe than what it used to be, only a few days back. And it’s only been 3 days since the decision was implemented.
The Fate of Old Cars
The Government has no plans of relocating these vehicles outside Kathmandu Valley. According to Tulasi Prasad Sitaula, Secretary at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT), all of these old cars will be sold to metal purchasers. He also mentioned that it’s not feasible to relocate these old vehicles to other parts of the country because similar problems will arise wherever they go to. Also, the government has no plans to compensate the vehicles owners.
“We have said that all these vehicles which have already earned their investment will be removed without any compensation. Logically, most of these vehicles must have already earned their costs while plying on the streets for two decades”, said Sitaula.
Also, to make it easy for entrepreneurs and old car owners, the Transportation Ministry has planned to lift the ban on transfer of vehicle ownership for a temporary period of three months.
The government had also planned to apply the legislation countrywide for years, but the transportation entrepreneurs have been objecting to the plan. For now, at least, roads in Kathmandu are getting better. The government and related authorities hope to execute this plan on a nationwide level, which will lay off thousands of more old cars. With the decision implemented in Kathmandu Valley, there are hopes that the same legislation will be implemented everywhere in Nepal, which will play a really important role in reducing air pollution and saving people’s time, and lives.
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