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Golden oldies are still shipshape, and how!
The Himalayan Times, 02 December 2005

Eight months have elapsed since the government decided to phase out 20-year-old vehicles from the Valley. Yet, not one such vehicle has been edged off the road because none of these oldies has failed emission tests. This, despite the fact that the Valley Traffic Police Office (VTPO) conducts emission tests on all vehicles registered before 1998 on a regular basis and resorts to surprise checks too. On March 9, the Ministry of Labour and Transport Management had decided to allow the 20-year-old vehicles to ply for a maximum of two years to check whether they maintain the emission standards. Any vehicle failing the emission test will be put off the valley roads right away, the government had said.

But the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) had not been able to conduct the emission test on 20-year-old vehicles due to lack of equipment and manpower. The VTPO chief, SSP Krishna Bahadur Rana, said such vehicles have not been monitored yet because the government is yet to come up with a decision on providing compensation to the owners of the vehicles that will be phased out once they fail the test. "It may also be because owners keep their vehicles in condition," he added. However, Sharad Adhikary, technical director, DoTM, said: "Some two weeks ago, the Ministry of Finance had said that the government cannot provide compensation to the owners of such vehicles." He said the Ministry of Labour and Transport Management today directed the DoTM to begin conducting the emission test specifically on 20-year-old vehicles.

"Though the ministry has not provided required manpower to begin the emission test for 20-year old vehicles, we will begin the test in Teku with whatever resources we have," he said, adding that the machines donated by the Enabling State Support Programme (ESPS) will be used. Officials at the Bagmati Zonal Office of the DoTM said some 800 such 20-year-old vehicles have already been displaced voluntarily to various parts of the country after the government decided to phase out the vehicles. Some 10,000 20-year-old vehicles have been plying in the valley, according to the Department of Transport Management.

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