KATHMANDU: In a move that was long overdue, the government decided to remove all public vehicles over 20 years old from the streets of Bagmati Zone in the next two years.
The Department of Transport Management brought the provision to scrap public vehicles that are more than 20 years old into effect on October 18. The DTM enforced the decision after approval from the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) and the Cabinet.
Many mini-buses, taxis, trucks and tankers that are more than 20 years old will be removed from roads across the country in the next two years,” Senior Divisional Engineer at MoPIT, Navin Pokhrel, said.
Likewise, vehicles with green registration number plates that have been plying for over 20 years will be removed from the country’s streets within three months.
“The owners of scrapped vehicles can use the registration number plates on the new vehicles they purchase. They can also put new vehicles into operation on the routes they are currently using,” Pokhrel said.
Also, the life of every public vehicle will be fixed at 20 years from now onwards. The Department of Transport Management has already instructed its regional offices to clearly mention this in vehicle ownership certificates that they issue.
The government finally decided to enforce the decision to scrap old vehicles, as studies and road accident records showed that vehicles in operation for over 20 years are at greater risk of road accidents and are also big polluters.
“We will gradually place a ban on use of old public vehicles in other zones as well,” Pokhrel said.
The government has been trying to remove old vehicles from the streets for the last one decade. But it could not succeed due to objection from transport operators, who sought facilities like customs duty waiver on the vehicles they import to replace old ones.
It is estimated that around 16,000 public vehicles, including buses, mini-buses, tempos, tourist vehicles, trucks and taxis currently plying on the streets are more than 20 years old.