Transporters call strike in Nepal, over 200 arrested

Kathmandu, May 26 (IANS) Transport entrepreneurs in Nepal on Thursday called a nationwide strike against the government’s decision to hike fines for traffic violations.

All public vehicles remained off the roads since early morning and some cases of vandalism were reported in Kathmandu.

Only private, emergency vehicles and those operated by security forces could be seen on the roads.

Thousands of commuters thus suffered from the strike.

Transport entrepreneurs have been protesting against the recent amendment in the Motor Vehicles and Transport Management Act of 1993, to increase the penalty.

As per the amended act, which entered into force two weeks ago, the maximum fine for serious traffic rule violations has been raised to $14 from $9 previously, while the minimum fine has been increased to $46 from $23. One US dollar is equivalent to NepaliRs.107.5.

In the case of accidental death, compensation to be paid to families of the deceased has been increased to $462 from the previous $92. In the case of injury, immediate treatment expenses to be paid to the victim has been increased to $231 from $18.

Police said over 200 people were arrested from various locations in Kathmandu. Hundreds of people, including transport entrepreneurs, drivers and their assistants, were seen on the streets protesting the fine-hike.

Normal vehicular movement across the country was also hit hard by the protest. Protesters also vandalized some vehicles in Kathmandu.

Around 4,000 security personnel have been deployed in Kathmandu to prevent any untoward incidents.

Home Ministry spokesman Yadav Koirala said stern action will be taken against those who try to obstruct movement of private vehicles and disrupt the mobility of passengers.

Vehicles also remained off the roads in other major cities including Birgunj, Biratnagar, Pokhara and Nepalgunj.

Nepal Police have also provided free bus service on two routes within Kathmandu valley on Thursday.

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