President calls on government, parties to resolve Tarai tangle

Kathmandu, October 16

President Ram Baran Yadav today called on the government and political parties to immediately resolve Tarai problems, which have significantly reduced cross-border movement of vehicles and triggered a fuel crisis in the country.

He made the remark during the Seventh International General Assembly and Global Conference of the Non-Resident Nepalis Association.

“The problems facing the Madhes are internal... So, the government and political parties should immediately address these issues. I would like to request the Deputy Prime Minister to convey this message to the government and political parties,” President Yadav said, directing his message towards Deputy PM and Foreign Affairs Minister Kamal Thapa, who was present on the occasion.

He told the conference that he had previously asked the government and political parties to listen to voices of the dissenting Madhesi groups.

“But the government of that time and political parties did not listen to me. Instead, they said that I was making controversial remarks,” the president said, adding, “Unity inside the country is most important and people of Madhes and Pahad are brothers.”

The protests in the Tarai, which adjoins Indian border and is the gateway for entry of most of the goods required by the country, began over two months ago. The protesters are demanding changes in some of the provisions of the constitution introduced on September 20.

The agitations taking place near Nepal-India border points have choked supply of essential commodities, especially petroleum products, triggering a fuel crisis in the country.

Currently, almost all factories in industrial belts of Hetauda, Birgunj-Pathlaiya, Sunsari-Morang and Lumbini have been shut down because of fuel crisis and shortage of raw materials, while hotels are reporting average room occupancy rate of 25-35 per cent in the peak tourist season. Similarly, agriculture sector is facing shortage of fertilisers and feeds due to irregular supply from India, while construction sector, which needs diesel to run machinery, has also been hit.