Government offices have yet to do third-party insurance for around 9,000 vehicles even 22 years after formulation of the law.
The Transport Management Act 1993 has made third-party insurance of vehicles plying on the roads mandatory. The government had made insurance mandatory for vehicles of bodies under it 17 years later. But no government bodies have complied until now even as private vehicles and mass transportation vehicles cannot ply on the streets without one. “The vehicle-owner or the manager must do third-party insurance of a fixed amount to compensate for losses incurred by a third party in a road accident,” clause 152 of the Act reads.
The government had 4,697 motorcycles, 125 jeeps, 750 pickup vans, 662 trucks/lorries/containers, 630 cars and 2,163 other vehicles until the end of fiscal year 2069/70. One has to pay Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,335 a year for third-party insurance for a motorcycle, and Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,500 for a four-wheeler depending upon the engine’s capacity. It is around Rs 12,000 for big vehicles.
The government has been strictly enforcing third-party insurance since September, 2009 due to rising number of accidents. Transport offices have not even transferred ownership of vehicles without documents for third-party insurance after that. But government bodies have not showed interest in third-party insurance for almost all vehicles as there is no transfer of ownership. Government vehicles even have not done annual renewal, according to the Transport Management Office, Bagmati. Officials at the office remain silent as they are not in a position to directly remind the government bodies.
Traffic police only check whether government vehicles have taken permission to ply on government holidays. Government vehicles can move freely on the roads without third-party insurance and other documents as additional documents are not sought. Director General at the Department of Transport Management Madhusudan Burlakoti, stating that status of all vehicles plying on the road is same, says the department is preparing to soon start checking whether renewal and third-party insurance have been done or not. “All the vehicles must do third-party insurance as per prevailing laws. We will also initiate the process of taking action along with checking,” he added.
A secretary level meeting around a month ago spurred on by Chief Secretary Lila Mani Poudel had directed to immediately move the process of third-party insurance forward after finding that government vehicles do not have one. Burlakoti says the department has been preparing to intensify monitoring accordingly. The meeting had also instructed the government to clear old vehicle taxes.