Kathmandu, October 11:

In a repetition of the theme made famous by Ayn Rand in her novel Atlas Shrugged,the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) has called for a general strike on Tuesday, October 17 to mark its protest against the undue pressure from various quarters and an unsympathetic government, Appealing for a general strike, FNCCI president Chandi Raj Dhakal today said that FNCCI has been compelled to take this step because of the negligence of the government to address problems faced by entire the business community.

He informed that a meeting of the National Struggle Committee under the FNCCI has decided to shut down all businesses and trading activities including transportation to pressurise the government to fulfil their five-point demands. The demands include providing industrial security, ending extortion, rescheduling bad loans, and resolving labour and trade union disputes as well as scrapping the syndicate system in transport. The demands were made during a recently held national assembly of FNCCI in Birgunj. The same meeting had formed the National Struggle Committee.

Despite repeated requests to the prime minister, concerned ministers, top leaders of seven party alliance and president of CPN-Maoists, the magnitude of the problems has been widening day by day, said Dhakal. He added that the Nepali business community is facing one of the toughest problems even after the restoration of democracy. “The excesses by the state and the Maoists compelled us to come to the street for our existence,” he said.

Surendra Bir Malakar, president of Nepal Chamber of Commerce, Shiva Prasad Ghimire, president of Nepal Petroleum Dealers’ Association and Ambar Bahadur Shrestha, vice-president of Federation of Contractors Associations’ of Nepal, expressed their solidarity to the strike called by FNCCI.