The air of official nonchalance that followed the tragic bus accident in Sindhuli this week once again reminded us how disposable the life of a Nepali citizen has become. Besides short-term public memory about road safety, what is even more disappointing is the insensitivity shown by the state.
The loss of 41 lives is by no means just an "accident". Had it been an air crash, it would have made it to the headlines and the editorials. Compensating victims and the families would be at the top of the agenda. A high-level inquiry commission would have been set up immediately to probe the disaster, as was in the case of the Buddha Air Beechcraft crash on Lalitpur's Kot Danda on 25 September that killed all 19 on board.
But 48 hours since the Sindhuli bus tragedy, the government is yet to find out what caused it. Social inequity plagues even the government's treatment of tragedies. When a plane goes down, it makes international headlines and there is speculation about safety of Nepal's air traffic. But every day, Nepalis are putting their lives on the line in overcrowded buses on dangerous roads, and it fails to attract the government's concern other than a few token gestures.
Employers nor careless traffic police or the contractors that build substandard roads are punished. If the government feels for the common people of this country it must take loss of human lives seriously and help to make Nepal's roads safer. It can begin by probing into the Sindhuli tragedy and learning lessons from it.