KATHMANDU, NOVEMBER 1
In previous years a large number of people used to leave Kathmandu valley to celebrate Dashain in their hometowns. However, the number dropped significantly this year as many people had already left the valley before the lockdown was imposed and most of them have not returned yet as many people are hesitant to travel long distances in public vehicles due to the fear of being infected with the coronavirus.
“Over 2.5 million people used to return to their homes through public vehicles to celebrate Dashain in the previous years but this number was very low this year,” said Saroj Sitaula, general secretary of the Federation of Nepalese National Transportation Entrepreneurs.
According to the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division (MTPD), around 900,000 people have left the valley since October 17 and 800 people have entered the valley during the same period.
Talking about the dismal state of transport operators, Sitaula mentioned that less than 50 per cent of long-distance vehicles were in operation during Dashain this year and moreover these vehicles too did not receive passengers like in previous years. “Since we have to also spend money on vehicle maintenance, staff and fuel, there was not much profit for transport entrepreneurs this year,” Sitaula added.
“An average of 4,000 public vehicles were operated daily during this year’s festive season while a total of 168 public vehicles were penalised for overcharging passengers,” informed Superintendent of Police Rameshwar Prasad Yadav, spokesperson for MTPD.
Now that Dashain is over, people who had left the valley to celebrate the festival are gradually returning.
According to SP Yadav of MTPD, an average of 20,000 people left and around 17,000 people came to the valley before Dashain whereas an average of 23,000 people are returning to the valley and 21,000 people are leaving daily at pr