Thursday, December 9, 2010

Car Transport in Nepal in 1948

Source: Patan Museum

“Instead of cars carrying workers, Nepal has workers carrying cars on the rocky, hilly trails of the country. Here automobiles, stripped of wheels and bumpers, are shoulder-borne to and from Kathmandu, the only Nepalese city with modern roads. Some 80 coolies, moving to the rhythm of a chant, balance it on long poles, heavier than the car itself.”

“This German-made Mercedes Benz is of the same series, made between 1936 and 1940, as the one given to King Tribhuvan by Adolf Hilter, which is now at the Narayanhiti Palace Museum.”

Since the luxurious lifestyle, at the expense of poor Nepali people, of the autocratic Rana regime, the country has come a long way. There are better roads, though still in short supply. However, it seems vehicles are not in short supply. The supply of vehicles has not matched with the supply of road infrastructure, i.e. the growth rate of vehicles plying on the roads of Nepal is far higher than the growth rate of new road infrastructure. This disequilibrium has led to traffic congestion and created supply bottlenecks. Note that infrastructure has been one of the most binding constraints to economic activities in Nepal. Well, things are changing now. Hopefully, the policymakers will properly address the binding constraints in the coming days.