‘Rs 1b lost each day during bandh’

Kathmandu, February 6:

A single day bandh causes a loss of Rs 870 million to non-agricultural sector and approximately one billion rupees is lost in total, speakers at a talk programme ‘bandh and its impact to economy’ said in the capital today.

Dr Shanker Sharma, vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission (NPC) said that 40 per cent of rural population is affected due to bandh and nearly 1.7 million households, who depend on a daily wages, suffer. “The direct impact of bandh causes a loss of Rs 870 million without considering a multipling effect of it in agricultural sector,” he said. “The bandhs and strikes not only cause a day-to-day loss but also hinders foreign investment in the longer run,” he said adding that poor people are affected most by such bandhs. “A survey done on impact of bandh shows that 97 per cent of population are against organising bandhs,” Sharma said.

Govinda Khaniya, leader of RPP (Kamal Thapa) said that infrastructure worth billion of rupees are being lost in name of strikes and bandhs. “The employment opportunities is shrinking and bandhs affects lay men, who work on daily wages basis,” he said adding that any protest programmes that affects national economy should be discouraged.

Dr Narayan Khadka, former member of the NPC said that the election has failed. “The Maoist has called the Nepal bandh to disturb the election and as the election has already lost its validity, they should lift the bandh considering its affect to the weak economy,” he said. Khadka also said that seven party alliances should call upon the Maoist to take off the bandh.

Mohan Man Sainju, vice-chairman at the Poverty Alleviation Fund said that the practices of calling upon bandhs should be replaced by some other means of protests. “There is a need to give momentum to the economy and bandh only deteriorates it,” Sainju said. “One third of the population is still devoid of basic services and these people are affected in higher degree during bandhs,” Sainju said.

“Migratory pattern and rapidly growing urbanisation is already creating problems in the urban areas and life of these migrated people is further made hard by such continuous bandhs,” Sainju said.