Saturday, 13 July, 2024

Frequent mass gatherings add woes to valley commuters


By Nayak Paudel
Kathmandu, Feb. 11: Bipin Guragain, a graphic designer at a company in Thapathali, left Tinkune for office at 9:30 am.
Through the Bagmati corridor, Guragain used to reach his office in 15 minutes, but on Wednesday it was different; it took him more than an hour to reach there.
Guragain was among thousands of commuters affected by the mass gathering organised in Kathmandu on Wednesday by the Prachanda-Madhav faction of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) against the dissolution of the House of Representatives (HoR).
School buses remained stuck in the congestion while ambulances were seen struggling to get through. As thousands of cadres and leaders thronged Exhibition Road to listen to their leaders, vehicular movement came to a halt. Most of them were brought in from outside of the valley.
The gathering was not the first but third in a month, and second in a week. The other NCP faction led by Prime Minister Oli had organised similar gathering on February 5 in Kathmandu while the Prachanda-Nepal faction had on December 29 last year.
All these gatherings coupled with the general strike called by Prachanda-Nepal faction on last Thursday had affected thousands of commuters, drawing flak from them and business enterprises alike.
“Since the major roads across the capital were occupied by the protestors, we commuters have no option but to make our way through corridors or narrow lanes. What if vehicles were diverted to those lanes,” said Guragain.
While leaders from the two factions are busy showing their strengths, it is always the commoners who have to bear the brunt, said the affected persons with whom The Rising Nepal talked.
“Leaders want to fulfill their wishes at the expense of the commoners, who are forever at the receiving end,” said a motorcyclist, who was visibly agitated due to the congestion at Bhotebahal, which saw spike in congestion in no time as commuters were diverted there because the Tripureshwor-Sundhara-Ratnapark road was closed by the security forces to thwart the mass gathering.
The gatherings have also increased the risk of COVID-19 spread.
“As always, we ordinary people have to pay the price for the leaders’ recklessness, but they only care about getting people on the street. This mustn’t happen,” said Roshan Shrestha, a software developer of an Anamnagar-based company.