Terai unrest bruises transporters

Biratnagar, January 31:

Transport entrepreneurs in Terai region have had to incur losses of over Rs 100 million due to the ongoing unrest in different Terai districts so far.

The transportation sector has come to a complete halt over the past three weeks in Eastern region. General secretary of Eastern Nepal Transport Entrepreneurs Association (ENTEA) Gopal Karki said transport entrepreneurs have been hit hard by continuous strikes in Morang, Sunsari, Saptari, Siraha and other districts of Terai.

Transportation entrepreneurs had called for a strike on January 5, 6 and 7 while on January 9 and 10, strike was called by Janatantrik Mukti Morcha.

Similarly, Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (Jwala Singh group) had called a strike in Terai on January 12, 13 and 14; Dalit Mukti Morcha on January 15; Kirant Workers’ Party on January 16 and Transport entrepreneurs again on January 19 and 22.

Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum (MJF) has continued a bandh in Terai districts since January 22. Transportation service has remained halted throughout this period.

ENTEA claimed that MJF activists have vandalised over two-dozen passenger vehicles in this period causing damage worth over two million rupees. Both short and long route vehicles have remained off the road in some of the Terai districts.

However, transportation service is running as usual in other cities of east such as Dharan, Dhankuta, Jhapa, Ilam, Panchthar and Tehrathum.

According to ENTEA, over 350 passenger buses belonging to Koshi Bus Entrepreneurs Association and ENTEA have stayed in garages for the past few days due to bandh. Central chairman of Nepal National Transport Workers’ Association, Ajay Rai said tens of thousands of transport workers are facing difficulties to survive due to continuous halt in transportation service. He warned that transport workers will have no choice other than to agitate for survival if the situation continues.

Likewise, some 400 vehicles belonging to Sagarmatha Transport Entrepreneurs Association, Himali Transport Association, Janakpur Transport Association and Narayani Transport Association have also remained idle due to the unrest in Terai.

On a normal day, transportation service in eastern region earns a profit of upto Rs 3.6 million. General secretary of ENTEA Karki said thousands of people concerned directly or indirectly with the transportation sector have been adversely affected due to the prolonged closure.