Kathmandu, Feb. 28: It was 7.40 on Saturday evening, when the locals of Bagbazaar heard a group of people screaming on the road, and everyone looked out. A terrible scene greeted them. A woman apparently in her late 60s was being dragged by a microbus. She was carrying three bags.
She was still holding on to the moving vehicle when people nearby ran towards it to rescue her. “Jau, jau, bhagau, bhagau (let’s go, let’s go)” the conductor told the driver as the vehicle fled while the woman in a Saree was dragged further in the middle of the road.
Finally, she was rescued. She sustained injuries in the accident, which fortunately didn’t cost her life, beneath the overhead bridge of Bagbazar crossroads. “I am applying oil and massaging the parts that hurt. It really hurt a lot today,” said the woman on a phone call with The Rising Nepal on Sunday.
She had arrived in Bagbazaar riding a white micro from Chabahil. When she got off the vehicle and gave a note for fare to the conductor, the vehicle started moving forward without giving her the change. With three bags in her hands, the old lady grabbed the vehicle asking for the return but the vehicle continued to move until she fell down. “It was either a note of Rs. 50 or Rs. 100 I had given the conductor as soon as I got off. But he did not give me the change back. I had no choice but to grab the micro’s door as it moved forward,” she told The Rising Nepal.
A swelling below her right eye and some bruises on her face were visible while she stood shivering. “I am experiencing pain in my hands and legs,” she said, as she stood and uttered, “I thought I had been done for.” The micro van’s number was noted and the Traffic Police was informed through 103, the traffic helpline, as no policeman was seen at the site. The woman, who said was a resident of Thahiti, Kathmandu, was then taken to her home on a taxi.
This case serves as a fitting example how rude some microbus drivers and conductors in Kathmandu can be and how they make the roads unsafe. Superintendent of Police (SP) Sanjib Sharma Das, spokesperson at Metropolitan Traffic Police Division (MTPD), assured to take necessary action against the micro van. “Demanding high fare is common but many such vehicles are penalised daily. The incident where the elderly woman was involved was also a result of high fare. The unscrupulous behaviour could have hurt the woman more but we are thankful that didn’t happen,” said SP Das.
According to SP Das, they will look at the CCTV footage of the accident, arrest the vehicle and its driver, contact the victim (whose phone number was also provided to the traffic police) and take further necessary steps. See the data of traffic rule violation in about five hours. By 10:30 am since early Sunday morning, 47 vehicles were penalised for traffic light violation, six for stopping on zebra crossings and 11 for breaching lane discipline. Similarly, 27 public buses were punished for charging higher fare.
The data provided by the MTPD shows that 9,545 accidents were recorded in 2020/21 with 166 deaths and 229 serious injuries. The numbers have been rising over the years. “The accidents are always a result of someone’s negligence. Abiding by traffic rules and driving safe and slow is all that the public need to do. However, the Kathmandu Valley, the busiest place for vehicles, shows how not to follow traffic rules and drive recklessly,” said SP Das.
“It is most likely that an individual faces close calls along the roads of Kathmandu at least once a day. One must be cautious with the vehicles. Public vehicles should also allow passengers to get on and off at designated places properly,” SP Das suggested.
Moreover, pedestrians have also been requested to walk on footpaths and cross roads from zebra crossings and overhead bridges only.