Kathmandu: Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Rabi Lamichhane has accepted the fact that Nepal’s ‘transport safety record is unacceptable, both in the air and on the roads’.
Issuing a statement on Sunday evening following the fatal air crash in Pokhara, he blamed “political protection” to shady operators for the sorry state of the transport sector.
Rastriya Swatantra Party has promised Nepal’s voters an end to corruption in Nepal and we will fight to make sure that deep change will happen, he wrote on social media. “As Minister of Home Affairs, I am responsible for the safety of every person in Nepal. I will do everything I can to make sure that today’s crash in Pokhara will be the last one in Nepal’s history.”
Here is the full text of his statement:
I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the families and friends of all the people who perished today, on board the Yeti Airlines ATR 72 (registration number 9N-ANC) that crashed into the Seti Gorge while trying to land at Pokhara International Airport in clear weather, on a major festival day.
I would also like to extend my accolades to the responders, especially from the Nepal Army, Armed Police Force Nepal and Nepal Police who are working relentlessly in the search and rescue efforts.
The passengers and crew on board the ill-fated aircraft will never walk among us again, and their presence will be sorely missed. Tomorrow has been declared by the Cabinet as a national day of mourning, so that we may remember their lives. A five-member commission has been appointed to carry out a thorough investigation, and the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal has been directed to check the conditions of all aircraft flying within Nepal.
But that is not enough. Our transport safety record is unacceptable, both in the air and on the roads. Shady operators have thrived with political protection, providing the public with unsafe and overpriced services, while ruining Nepal’s reputation abroad and, with it, Nepal’s aviation and tourism industry. Rastriya Swatantra Party has promised Nepal’s voters an end to corruption in Nepal and we will fight to make sure that deep change will happen.
As Minister of Home Affairs I am responsible for the safety of every person in Nepal. I will make sure that a thorough investigation of deeper causes will take place, along with a review of past decisions and reports by previous commissions. I will do everything I can to make sure that today’s crash in Pokhara will be the last one in Nepal’s history.