Mahottari/Rautahat, Feb 10:

The indefinite bandh — called by the locals demanding for establishment of Integrated Administrative Service Centres (IASC) in Bardibas and Chandranigahpur — has crippled life in Mahottari and Rautahat districts.

The locals are also demonstrating in Hariwan of Sarlahi and Nijgarh of Bara, demanding that the IASC be established there.

Hundreds of passengers heading to different destinations in the country have been stranded because of the bandh. Though some long-distance buses have been heading to their destinations via India, passengers are forced to pay exorbitant fares and undertake risky journey.

People in a dozen VDCs in the northern part of Mahottari — who used to eke out their living by selling vegetables and milk — are affected the most, as they have not been able to take their produce to the markets for the past ten days.

“Vegetables produced in our farms are rotting because we can’t take them to market because of the bandh,” farmers of Maisthan, Bijalpura, Kisannagar, Bhangaha, Hattilet, Ramnagar, Belgachhi, Pashupatinagar, Aurahi and Hatisara VDCs said.

Som Bahadur Karki, a farmer from Maisthan, lamented that he had not been able to take his produce to the market.

On the other hand, locals in the southern part of the district have been facing the shortage of fresh vegetables and milk.

Meanwhile, six vehicles were vandalised and a motorcycle torched in Bardibas today. Thousands of villagers from rural parts of the district staged a baton rally in Bardibas today demanding that the IASC be established there.

The agitators also continued their sit-in by putting up tents on the highway. They

also obstructed traffic by felling trees and piling up stones on the road.

However, local leaders are divided over the establishment of IASC in Bardibas. While

the leaders from southern belt of the district are against establishment of the IASC in Bardibas, leaders from the northern part are supporting it.

Our Chandranigahpur correspondent reported that the locals have started facing acute shortage of daily essentials because of the indefinite bandh.

Ram Krishna Mahato, chairman of Joint Struggle Committee of Mahottari, Rautahat, Sarlahi and Bara districts, said the agitation would continue until their demand was met.

Though leaders of major political parties — Unified Maoist, UML, NC, MJF, Sadbhavana and TMDP — have reached an agreement at the central level, local leaders of these parties are still taking to the streets.

The local leaders are also not taking initiative to call an all-party meeting to resolve the issue, as decided by the seven-party meeting at

the central level.