Recently, Sujan Babu Adhikari wrote in a group chat at the Shangrila Development Bank office: “I’m going to get my car. Those residing on the Kalanki-Baluwatar road, rest your cars for the day and jump into mine. The time and place of departure were also mentioned in the message.
His Syuchatar colleagues, Ravi Bhawan and Kalimati all reacted with a thumbs up to his message saying they agree with the plan; carpooling to get to work. So, Adhikari picked up his colleagues and with a full house, they all proceeded to the bank’s headquarters in Baluwatar. That day, in the office parking lot, there were three fewer cars.
By now, the four employees have already started carpooling or regularly commuting to the office together. “Using a single car costs much less fuel and reduces traffic on the road,” says Adhikari.
Not just them, it’s been four months since Shangrila Bank employees started sharing cars and motorbikes, leaving their seats vacant, with a few exceptions.
After fuel prices started rising in the international market, all employees, including the bank’s CEO, started carpooling. “Our car park is now more convenient for customers as well,” says Adhikari, who is also the bank’s general secretary, adding that other people can also adopt carpooling if they want to save fuel and help make traffic management easier. of Kathmandu less chaotic.
The idea born out of necessity
With the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian war, fuel prices skyrocketed around the world. According to the Nepal Oil Corporation, five million liters of diesel and two million liters of gasoline, collectively worth Rs 1.22 billion, are consumed daily in Nepal.
As a country like Nepal, dependent on imported fuel, is affected by the debate on reducing fuel consumption, employees of Shangrila Development Bank have also started talking about reducing the use of vehicles to essence.
But how? During a discussion, the employees spontaneously had the idea of carpooling, shared cycling or carpooling, and of using a bicycle. If possible and those who live nearby can also walk on foot. Recalling that discussion four months ago, Adhikari says the small effort to save the economy and the environment by reducing fuel consumption has now become a rule in the office.
The bank is also very proactive in the effort and in all of its 19 branches in the Kathmandu Valley, it has been practicing carpooling since last April.
Now, NMB Bank will also do the same, CEO Sunil KC informs. The bank might even implement a policy for the same.
‘You ride alone, you ride with Hitler’
Carpooling was heavily practiced in major American cities after World War II, causing a severe supply crisis. It is also called carpooling, carpooling or carpooling. At that time, to promote the idea, posters reading “You ride alone, you ride with Hitler” were hung everywhere.
Subsequently, the largest and busiest cities in the world have been known to practice carpooling to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution caused by fuels, epidemics and natural disasters.
A similar exercise took place in 2010 in Tehran, the capital of oil-producing Iran. Then the population reached 8.45 million, and the number of passenger cars reached three million. Due to lack of road infrastructure development, the city had become chaotic with frequent traffic jams.
To control the traffic jam, the government implemented a fuel consumption reduction policy, but it did not succeed. Even after increasing the price of fuel, consumption did not decrease.
Then the government adopted a carpooling policy. A study found that a 30% increase in carpooling saved 240 million liters of fuel per year.
Is the Nepalese government doing something?
Recently, during a press conference organized by the Ministry of Trade and Supply to inform about the increase in fuel price and tax, Secretary Ganesh Prasad Pandey was asked, “Sir, do you drive an electric vehicle Or a gasoline vehicle?
He laughed and said, “Where to buy an electric vehicle? The government has a policy of not buying new cars.
The reporter asked again, “Shouldn’t fuel consumption reduction measures start with you?” The secretary replied, “We all have to do it together.
So far, no concrete effort has been made to reduce fuel consumption. No ministry or agency in the premises of Singhadarbar has taken initiatives such as car sharing to reduce fuel consumption.
“They fill up the gas with a coupon (given to government officials) and hit the road. That’s what happened,” said a Commerce Ministry official, adding, “Many ministers and secretaries have up to three diesel and gasoline vehicles.
The House of Commons State Affairs and Good Governance Committee, responsible for making public bodies aware and thrifty as well as leading them in times of energy crisis, is inactive. The position of committee chairman is also vacant.
Previously, the government decided to reduce fuel consumption. But, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supply said that no institutional responsibility has been identified in this regard. In other words, the government has not taken measures to reduce fuel consumption.
This story has been translated from the original Nepali version and edited for clarity and length.