Nepali Times Asian Paints
ARTHA BEED
Economic Sense
Highway blues


ARTHA BEED


Why is travelling on Kathmandu roads so unbearable? Impromptu chakka jams and landslides seem likely culprits, as do a dysfunctional government and truant cops. But a closer look reveals that the private sector deserves some part of the blame too.

Don't get too self-righteous about it, we're part of the problem as well. Cars park on both lanes of major highways and breakdown mid-road because they carry more than they can physically bear. And yet the people who could fix this, the cops, don't seem to care.

Many of these cars also belch plumes of toxic, black smoke, even though countless campaigns have tried to pull polluting cars off the roads by making green stickers mandatory. Yet a number of traffic cops this Beed talked to didn't even know what a green sticker was or signified.

The private sector can fill in where the government has failed. Vehicle dealers could help out by educating their customers about what they can and can't do and run an emergency tow truck service so they can quickly pull stalled cars off the roads.

But if the private sector wants to do a better job than the government, then it must respect the rule of law and keep from launching street protests and hartals that hold up traffic to have their way. It's in their own interest to show some restraint. Not only do hartals discourage foreign investment but they irk the government, which could then vindictively withhold its protection from the business community. The Beed's advice: focus on innovation and cutting costs, not politics.

So criminal drivers and negligent cops have certainly done their part to bring about this sorry state of affairs. But the private sector is just as culpable. Next time you rail at the government, save some breath for our businesses.

www.arthabeed.com



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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