Wed, 20 Jan, 2021

Situation of Breathalyzer in Nepal

By Abhusan Gautam

Have you ever traveled the streets of Kathmandu after sunset? Kathmandu might not be so pretty during the day, but it literally shines during the night. A marvelous sight, indeed. But not everything is an eye-candy. One thing you cannot help but pity is the “MAPASE” checking system– (Madhak Padartha Sewan” – anything thing that gets you intoxicated falls in this category). Here is a report of what I experienced. Last Thursday as I was walking home, I noticed a couple of policemen wearing reflectors were stopping any vehicles passing by. Having grown up in a police family, I immediately understood that MAPASE was in action.  At first, I was happy about it. No driver, out of his wits, would run me over. The policeman stopped an oncoming bike, asked him to open his helmet and breathe in his face. After smelling his breath, the policeman allowed the biker to pass. I was shocked. This is one of a kind inspection. This is also one of the stupidest things I have ever experienced. Really Nepal? Having one of the strictest laws in the world against Drunk-Driving and using a real person as a Breathalyzer? How efficient would a person be to judge if another person is drunk or sober. It might be easy to know if a person is heavily drunk but it is incredibly hard to predict if a person has drunk just a little. Mind you, Nepal had already brought around 50 Breathalyzers in 2012 but whether they are in use or not is a different story. Kathmandu definitely has more than just 50 lanes where vehicles can be used. Nepal government should have bought more than just 50 of these devices. A good initiative that wasn’t continued. Typical Nepali Behavior. Besides, there are many complaints about it from the policemen as well. Smelling someone’s breath can cause headache or vomiting, especially if the person’s breath is pretty disgusting. Many policemen have fainted during the process. This isn’t safe for all parties: the public, the drunkards and the police who inspect them. Ever since Nepal imposed a zero tolerance against Drunk Driving, the revenues have been ever rising. Each day, 250 people, on an average get caught and fined for drunk driving. Knowing the conditions about how they were investigated, I ask myself: were they really drunk? Is it possible to take custody of a person just by smelling his breath? Is it really a good thing that a person has to risk his health to know if another person is drunk? Nepal has proved to the world that Nepal can have the strongest rule about a particular thing. But, if you’re vying to be the best at least do it in a proper manner.