October 30, Kathmandu. Raju Gautam was found eating food from a hot case by stopping the tempo in front of New Road Gate at 12 noon on Tuesday. Even the passengers around were shocked to see him sitting inside the tempo and eating food since morning.
Traffic in the capital has been affected since Tuesday morning due to the Nepal Bandh called by Netra Bikram Chand-led CPN (Maoist). While the bus, microbus and minibus were not running, the tempo drivers took to the road at around 8 in the morning. Passengers began to disembark and disembark from their destination.
The shared bus started carrying passengers only from noon. By this time, the tampu drivers had come to Ratna Park three times to talk to each other.
It has been 15 years since Raju Gautam started eating tempo inside the tempo. He said that he would not stay at home even for a day as he could not pay the installment due to the lockdown.
“I have not been able to pay the installment due to the lockdown,” Gautam, 50, told Online Khabar. Instead, I started using the tempo in the morning to make myself easier for the passengers. ‘
Tempo drivers were also seen working regardless of the bandh. Kalpana Tamang, who came out with the tempo at 7 in the morning, even asked how many people were using it. But she pushed the tempo forward, saying, “There are people to climb, why not?”
Kalpana says, ‘Some people wearing masks inquired why she was using it. I told them I had to feed them. ‘
Like Kalpana, Sabitri Rana also left home in the morning after eating. He did not care about the bandh while driving on the Chabahil-Ratna Park route.
Sabitri says, “It is not possible to get food without working because it is closed.” Even if a small number of people climb, they will have to pay for the charging. ‘
Kalpana Tamang, who took the tempo at 7 in the morning, was asked why some people were driving on the road. But she pushed the tempo forward, saying, “There are people to climb, why not?”
Kalpana and Sabitri did not stop at the tempo during the bandh and stayed at home. He has the experience of running the tempo even during blockades, post-constitution agitations and bandhs.
Kalpana says, ‘We used to start driving late in the morning and go home early in the evening. We used to stop the tempo on the side of the road while burning tires and throwing stones. ‘
Another tempo driver Subash KC also has experience of driving a tempo in the previous bandh. He said that the protesters would target taxis and buses but would not vandalize rickshaws or tampons.
“Even today, they hurled stones at the bus but they did nothing to us,” he said. पुलिस हुँदा बन्दकर्ताहरूले सिधै तोडफोड गर्न सक्दैनन् ।’
According to Subas, during the Nepal Bandh held after the Jana Andolan of 2062-63, the protesters used to go from one place to another at a tempo. He has the experience that at that time, when everyone did not have a motorcycle like now, the cadres who would close Nepal were riding on the tempo and scattering leaflets.
The passengers are happy
Hark Chaudhary, who had brought his daughter to Veer Hospital, had also come at the same tempo. He came to the hospital from Gaushala in the morning as the taxi was expensive. After being examined there, Mahankal came to the Tempo stand near the temple and returned home.
Passengers like him who were going to different destinations were happy that the tempo was moving. Even if you take arbitrary fare by sender and taxi, the tempo is the fastest choice of the passengers.
Tempo routes are also available on roads and bus routes within the capital. The minimum fare is Rs 18 and the maximum is Rs 40. Fifty percent of the tempo drivers are women, according to the traffic police.
Photos: Shankar Giri