Public transport, including Tata sumos and microbuses on the highway route connecting Birganj, Hetauda and Kathmandu have suddenly increased their fares. Unsurprisingly, they've taken advantage of the holiday season, when demand for public transport rises. It's obvious that there's collusion between the owners of these vehicles and government bureaucrats. Businessmen especially are behaving unethically. But the people who are supposed to stop these crimes aren't doing much about it. "They may be illegally hiking prices, but we can't pursue them. The vehicles we have at our disposal are all out of order," says a government official.
Whether it's Dasain or Eid, Chhat or Tihar, people will pay a little extra when they have to. Businessmen are fully aware of this. And it's not just happening on the aforementioned routes. Customers are often told there is no transport available. But wait, if you pay a little extra, perhaps something can be arranged? Once the customer is resigned to this, suddenly the missing transport turns up. Such is the psychological hold the swindlers have over their customers that the latter actually feel as if they have scored a victory when paying double the price. Sometimes they don't even get a valid ticket for their trouble.
If the government is to save its citizens from such scams, it seriously needs to strengthen its follow-up mechanisms. Businessmen, too, need to understand that cheating and lying is no way to do business in the long term.