Ending The Syndicates

Narayan Upadhyay

The private operators’ monopoly in the nation’s public transport sector has now come to an end, thanks to the commendable action of the government. The move to end the cartel in the nation’s public transport sector will unequivocally infuse new vibrancy in the public transport area, which has remained under the iron-clutch of the monopolistic private entrepreneurs for years.
The government had few weeks ago started taking action against the operators of the private buses after they tried to obstruct the entry of new operators in the sector. The private transport entrepreneurs who had enjoyed a free run until the new government under KP Sharma Oli came to helm, have now agreed to follow the government’s terms and conditions to run their affairs as taxable companies and not as a non-tax paying committees.

After the private transport operators engaged in a showdown with the government, the nation came to realise that all the committees formed by the transport operators were registered as non-profit organisations registered at the district administration offices across the nation. But the reality was that all the operators of the private public transport would earn good return from their business and they enjoyed the luxury of not paying taxes to the government on their incomes.
Now, after the government asked them to register as companies which they have agreed to follow meekly, they will have to show their earnings and then pay taxes accordingly to the government. As a part of its move to dismantle the cartel of the private bus operators across the nation, the government has frozen the bank accounts of these operators while mobilising the money laundering department to probe into their earnings.
After government scrapped the route permits of the several public transport committees and started arresting the office-bearers of the federation of the protesting private transport operators, it became clear that the once powerful bus entrepreneurs committees were toothless in front of the might of the government. In the meantime, they were exposed of several wrongdoing of cheating both the government and common commuters all over the country.
Following the swift action of the government against the private bus operators, the commuters and travellers will certainly have better days ahead. They can now hope for comfortable travel as more bus operators will start coming to offer their services. The new provisions ensure that new transport operators can provide bus services to any part of the country from anywhere, which is a welcome relief for the passengers. Earlier, the local bus service committee used to create obstruction to new entrants through various means. This new beginning will also witness a growth in the healthy competition among the bus operators, both new and old, ultimately benefitting the commuters and travellers.
With the government dealing firmly against the monopolistic private bus entrepreneurs, who have now been brought to their knees, the days of travelling in a jam-packed and old bus in Kathmandu and outside, which have led to many road mishaps are expected to end, will be a thing of past. The government’s firm and swift action to end the deep-rooted cartel in the country’s transport sector has been welcomed by all and sundry in the country, which must have encouraged the government. Almost all Nepalis supported the government’s move, suggesting that any action undertaken with a motive to benefit the people will get wider approval from the masses.
With the enviable success in ending bus operators’ syndication, now is the time for government and its agencies to act against prevailing syndication in other sectors. In our country, entrepreneurs and operators of various services have run their own syndicate at the cost of common people. The government and its agencies till date have not been able to act against these groups.
The education, health and other service sectors are under the grip of people who want to run such services as syndicate. They often turn a blind eye to the government rules and regulations for the profit of their groups. At times, they show the grit and gumption to force the government agencies to bow to their pressures through their various tactics. They often stage protests and resort to several other pressure tactics so that the government could not take action.
But not now. The new government that enjoys almost two-thirds majority has all the capability to dismantle syndication and cartel in various areas, including the areas known as the essential service sectors. As the syndication in the essential sectors, including the education and health sectors has deepened in the past several years, the people of middle and lower middle earning classes have found it difficult to afford to avail of such services. It is high time that the government dismantled syndication and cartel that is at the root of obstructing free competitions among the enterprises and entrepreneurs. Free competition is necessary for making the services and goods to be qualitative and beneficial to the general people.

Positive outcomes
Following the government action against the public transport syndication, the government appears more than willing to end syndication in the essential service sectors and other sectors. This motive of the government, especially the Home Ministry and other line ministries, augur well for the future well-being of the nation and its people. Syndication and cartelling are vices that obstruct the growth and raise level of dissatisfaction of the general people. By ending the years of transport syndicate, the government has signaled that it would move ahead to end syndication in other sectors too, which would drive growth in near future. The move against the transport syndicate is a step towards gaining positive outcomes in other sectors for the larger good of the nation and the people.

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