Revolution hits Kathmandu, roads fall silent

#1 Nov 5th, 2017, 11:31
Join Date:
Dec 2008
In the land of awesomeness
  • aarosh is offline
In six months, road users in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, have learned to cringe at using the car horn unnecessarily. "I feel embarrassed now when I occasionally blow the horn," said Rajaram Dangal, a hotel manager. "I feel like people are staring at me from all around." Clearly, the traffic police's slogan of "Let's be civilised, let's not use the horn" is working.

Making Dangal give up his instinctive action at the wheel has not been easy. Like in most old South Asian cities, horns seem a matter of life and death in Kathmandu, with its narrow, congested, pot holed roads. Pedestrians-and animals - cross the roads at will too. There are no traffic lights and road dividers. And yet today, you only hear a few stray beeps on the street. Even these sound tentative and have none of the aggressive, let-me-through tone that you find in, say, Delhi.

The induction of a no-nonsense officer to head the traffic police, a ban on horns, strict vigilance, a fine of Rs 500 (Rs 315 in Indian currency) and threat of public ignominy have brought a degree of silence on the noisy streets.

Noise pollution had reached unhealthy highs in the Nepalese capital.

A study in the Kathmandu University Journal of Science, Engineering and Technology in 2007, when traffic volumes were much lower, had put the decibel level in a major city area at up to 110 dB.

Compare this to the average of 75dB in Delhi on October 21this year, a day after Diwali.

After clamping down on honking, 15,500 people have been hauled up.Sarbendra Khanal, traffic police chief, said this was achieved despite the cops having no mechanical device to pinpoint the horn sound and so facing challenges from people to prove they had violated the ban. And yet, the quietude of sorts is holding out.

"It's early days still, but I feel mindsets are changing," Khanal was optimistic. The government's intent to change the street ambience was enunciated in no less than Khanal's selection to head the traffic police soon after the announcement of the ban.What did DIG Khanal bring to the table? "You can Google my name," he prompted, and a quick search shows he has little traffic experience. Rather, the officer has a reputation as an "encounter specialist", having crushed 109 criminal outfits in the Terai and taken on underworld bosses, even those with strong political connections, in the capital.
Times of India
#2 Dec 8th, 2017, 04:46
Join Date:
Jun 2007
  • captain bruce is offline
Well of course, no-one other than an encounter specialist could have tackled that problem. I would have thought that the regular police would have had as much chance of banning the wearing of a sari or chappals.

Mind you, as any tourist who has braved rush-hour in Thamel, especially in a contra flow direction, would tell you, the thought of those maniacs coming up to you in silence is even more terrifying. Horn Please!
#3 Dec 8th, 2017, 05:10
Join Date:
Mar 2012
Sydney, Australia
  • Govindpuri is offline
Parts of Thamel were vehicle free last month. It was great to walk around without worrying about silent maniacs.

Kathmandu has done well in getting rid of drunk driving and use of horns.

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