Kathmandu, May 3
The government has renewed ban on strikes in production, supply and distribution of essential goods and services.
According to a notice published in the Nepal Gazette, the ban was imposed in accordance with Sub-section (1) of Section 3 of the Essential Services Operation Act to ensure there is no disruption in essential services. The order is effective for six months and may be renewed after that.
As per the notice issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the government has fixed 18 areas of essential services where strikes are prohibited. The services include postal, telegram or telephone services, transportation services (road, water and air), airport runway and aeroplane repair and maintenance services.
The government has also banned strike government press, any service of defence affairs of the government related to the function of arms, ammunition or production of any military goods and services concerning internal security, communications as well as services pertaining to internal security.
Other service areas are water supply and distribution, tourism sector (motels, hotels, restaurants, resorts), supply of petroleum products, including liquefied petroleum gas, health services in hospitals and health centres, ambulances, production and sale/distribution of medicines, waste management (collection, transportation, disposal and recycling), banking, insurance, electricity supply, insurance and transportation, storage and distribution of consumer goods, including rice, lentils, edible oil and salt.
If any person stages a strike or incites others to do so in essential public services, the local administration will initiate legal action against him/her under the act. Anyone found guilty faces an imprisonment not exceeding one year or Rs 1,000 as fine or both as stipulated by the act. The decision to renew the ban on strikes in essential services comes in the wake of frequent protests by LPG dealers and suppliers, doctors and transport entrepreneurs.
Recently, Minister of Communications and Information Technology Gokul Prasad Baskota, who is also the government spokesperson, had hinted stringent action against anyone who violated the ban and said the government would publish a notice to this effect in the Nepal Gazette.
A version of this article appears in print on May 04, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.