Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Merchants of death


Legal provisions make it mandatory that eligible people obtain driving licenses after completing necessary examinations and processes. Drivers with licenses acquired by normal process drive their vehicles with caution and are not usually involved in accidents. Especially, private vehicle owners are averse to any additional risk.

But data shows that road accidents in Nepal have been increasing over the years. Police Headquarters data shows that each year around 2,000 people die in road accidents. Many others are maimed and disabled in road rage. This is a worrying scenario.

It is state's primary obligation to protect citizens' life and it has to manage roads properly for minimum loss of life and property. Driving vehicles with bad engines, drivers' negligence and unrepaired roads are some causes of accidents that can be easily prevented. That is why government bodies need to be responsible in preventing such accidents. Coordination among road department, transportation management department and traffic police will lessen road accidents. This coordination appears to be lacking.

Adding a horrible dimension to this worrying situation, fake driving license scam has come to public notice. The story on fake driving licenses carried out by Lokaantar yesterday exposes that 40,000 vehicles of all types have been plying Kathmandu roads with fake licenses. Gangs of fake license sellers are active. Chiefs of transportation offices and traffic police say that these gangs deliver fake licenses to the seekers' doorsteps with a fee of minimum 10,000 rupees. Transportation and traffic police officers have indirectly corroborated the existence of illegal business of fake licenses.

This deadly business of fake driving licenses being allowed to run is beyond ordinary imagination. Continuation of such criminal activity under the watch of an elected government is a matter of worry. News report claims that many holders of fake licenses have gone abroad. Such fake licenses are in risk of cancellation by foreign governments and this will tarnish Nepal's image. Just like European embargo on Nepal' aeroplanes, this fake license scam will further isolate Nepal in international stage.

But it is unfortunate that the government has failed to take concrete steps at a time when circumstances have turned worse. That is why the government that appears to be alert about people's comfort, have to give priority to safety of citizens' life.