Tourists visiting Rara Lake face transport difficulty


By Prem Raj Simkhada,Kalikot, May 16: Domestic and foreign tourists who come to visit Rara have been facing problems in lack of night transport on the Surkhet-Jumla road of Karnali Highway. 

The people of Kalikot have complained that the government is causing trouble by stopping vehicle movement instead of upgrading the road condition. 

They have demanded 24-hour transportation service on the highway. A decade ago, the government decided to shut down the night transportation service on the Karnali Highway citing more road accidents. 

The government has decided to stop night transportation at the request of Kalikot and Jumla District Administration Offices. 

The passengers carrying buses and loaded vehicles are not allowed to operate from 8 pm to 5 am along the Surkhet and Jumla road section. 

The operation of night transport has been stopped after 28 people lost their lives in an accident in Bittamod, Kalikot, in August 2011. 

However, the accident that killed 42 people on the Karnali Highway in March 2010 took place at 9 am and the Khidkijula bus accident in which 18 passengers were killed also took place in the afternoon.

The people of Kalikot said that the government rendered injustice to the people of Karnali by stopping the operation of vehicles instead of upgrading the road.

Most of the participants who spoke at the citizen’s hearing programme organised by the District Police Office said that night transport should be allowed.

Jeevan Kumar Shahi, a businessman at Manma Bazaar, said that tourists who come to visit Rara are facing problems due to the absence of night bus service along the road. 

He complained that the police were harassing tourists who had booked hotels in Manma from Kathmandu by stopping them from Paltada of Dailekh saying that there was no permit to go during the night. 

Businessman Shahi said that the road was not as difficult as previously. He demanded that the tourists who had booked the hotels in Manma from Kathmandu should not stop mid-way. 

Around 200 to 300 domestic tourists have been visiting Rara through Kalikot every day since mid-March.

Ratan Bahadur Shahi, President of Kalikot Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the government imposed the ban on the night bus service along the Karnali Highway by favouiring certain businessmen. He also accused traffic police of harassing the commuters on the road. 

Traders have demanded that Manma market should be allowed to open at night and during the economic crisis. 

The people of Karnali have claimed that there is no place for criminals to live on the Karnali Highway, saying that the police harass the passengers in the name of ‘unnecessary checks’.

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