Former Indian ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri said here on July 29, 2023 that the first generation of Indian transportation entrepreneurs introduced “modernization and change” to Nepal in the 1960s. The former Indian Ambassador to Kathmandu, who played a crucial role in stabilizing relations between the two sides in the context of the 2015–16 economic blockade imposed by Madhesi agitators, spoke at the launch of the biography titled Roads to the Valley on Sardar Pritam Singh, who is known as the “transport king of Nepal,” saying that Mr. Singh and his co-workers built “trust” for Indian people within the Nepalese society.

Imagine for a moment that in 1959, Sardar Pritam Singh used boats to ferry vehicles over the mighty Ganga and its tributaries. What did they end up doing as a result? The 1960s saw the introduction of modernization in Nepal. Mr. Puri lauded the efforts of a small group of Sikh businesspeople led by Mr. Singh, who was located in Kathmandu, for bringing about change in the nation.

Nepal’s lack of an east-west route, which necessitated a detour via India, made even domestic travel expensive, making the development of the country’s transportation sector a particularly challenging aspect of the country’s transition from a pre-modern to modern culture.

When the National Public Motor Service (NPMS) began operating buses, Ambassador Puri saw a significant shift in Nepal. “Nepalese politicians told me that the Sikhs brought trucks and started supply of goods from India, but they also started the bus service, which was very important as buses transported people,” Mr. Puri said, adding that Nepalese families trusted buses run by Sikh drivers.

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