Bandh affects life in Saptari

Rajbiraj, October 6

With no end in sight to the indefinite general strikes called by United Democratic Madhesi Front in Saptari, people have been hit hard.

The plains have been closed for the last 51 days.

Community and private schools in Saptari have yet to open.

Shyam Yadav, a guardian said the schools were shut down for a month due to the devastating earthquake of April 25. “Now, as though that wasn’t enough, teaching-learning activities have been ruined due to the prolonged bandh in the district,” he added. He said nobody had taken the initiative to open educational institutions yet. He further added that children would not be able to appear in the upcoming examinations if the situation did not normalise.

Schools in the district were closed as teachers were themselves involved in the general strike. The members of teachers’ unions and organisations said they were fighting for the rights of Madhesis.

Scarcity of kerosene, diesel, petrol, cooking gas has hit locals hard.

Rohit Sah, a local of Rajbiraj said he was compelled to go to the Indian side of the border to fill his tank after petroleum products were not allowed into Nepali territory. It is said locals have been going to Kunauli, Laukahi, Bhimnagar and Birpur, among other border areas, to fill their vehicles.

Consumers complained that prices of daily essentials had also increased along with the shortage of petroleum products. Businessmen have been bringing vegetables, fruits and other food items from 50 to 50 km away and selling them.

Health facilities in the district have also run out of medicine due to the bandh. Health workers at Gajendra Narayan Sagarmatha Zonal Hospital said they are facing problems while treating patients due to lack of medicine.

AHW Dinesh Prasad Sah of Urban Health Centre said health centres lack vaccines for children.

Similarly, the scarcity of medicine has hit locals at Rajbiraj, Hanumannagar, Kanchanpur, Bodebarsain, Kalyanpur, Pato among other places in the district.

Lalan Kumar Jha, proprietor of Maruti Medical Hall, said medicine needed for the diabetics and blood pressure patients had become scarce. “Most drugs that used to be supplied from Birgunj are no longer available,” he added. He further said drug store owners could not bring the needed medicine from other places.

Daily wage labourers have been hit the hardest.

Satyanarayan Jha, a cart puller, said he was finding it very hard to feed his children.

Meanwhile, coordinator Ramprit Yadav of Madhesi Front, Saptari, said the bandh had been extended as the concerned authority had not addressed their demands. He claimed that the government and the big parties were not bothered about addressing the demands.