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Saturday, 20 December 2014

Those flouting reserve seat rule to face tough action: Kathmandu

Though it has been made mandatory that public vehicles must allocate seats for women, senior citizens and persons with disabilities, people seem to be not giving two hoots about the rule and vehicle operators are only paying perfunctory attention, as a result of which these special seats are occupied by others.

On the first day of monitoring‚ youths and others were found occupying seats reserved for women‚ senior citizens and people with disabilities 

In the wake of reports that women, senior citizens and persons with disabilities were failing to have comfortable journey on public vehicles, traffic police in the Kathmandu Valley have launched tough action against those passengers who are caught occupying these reserved seats.

SP Basant Pant, Spokesperson for the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, said any person found occupying thees reserved seats would be made to disembark the vehicle immediately. They also need to attend an hourlong lecture on why women, senior citizens and persons with disabilities need care and support.

On the first day of the drive, traffic police took action against 345 male passengers for occupying reserved seats.

“We have deployed three monitoring and inspection teams led by DSPs in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur. The teams will force those passengers who are found occupying reserved seats to get off the vehicles and immediately take them to traffic police office to listen to lectures,” said SP Pant. “The concerned vehicle drivers will also be punished with Rs 200 fine.”

SP Pant said traffic police had to resort to this measure after the law enforcement agency’s repeated efforts to convince passengers, drivers and transport entrepreneurs to follow the rules went in vain.

According to the MTPD, it is exercising the power conferred on it by the Motor Vehicle and Transport Management Act, 1999.

As per the Act‚ a public bus must allocate six seats for women, elderly persons and people with disabilities. A mini bus must allocate four seats and a microbus should allocate three seats, as per the Act.

Similarly, the Act requires transport entrepreneurs to write or paste stickers saying ‘reserved seats for women, elderly persons and disabled’ above these seats and the signs must be visible from the door.

Traffic police launched the campaign in the wake of growing complaints of abuse against women and physically challenged people in crowded public vehicles.

During the monitoring, many women and elderly passengers were found struggling to stand properly while the seats reserved for them were occupied by youths and others.

On-duty traffic cops are also encouraging women, senior citizens and persons with disabilities to not hesitate to stake claim to their right. Traffic police have also urged them to call 103 (Traffic Police Control Room) and lodge complaints if they are denied their right.

Officials say the existing fine of Rs 200 is not enough to make bus operators follow the rules. The law enforcement agency has been asking the Department of Transport Management to empower it to slap a fine up to Rs 1,000 on transporters flouting the rules in the Valley where around 500,000 people commute in around 4,000 public vehicles on a daily basis.

While fine could be a good deterrent, it’s about the mindset of the people that needs to be changed. People must be encouraged to respect women, elderly and people with disabilities.

Source: The Himalayan Times, 19th Dec 2014

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