Day Two of bandh sees nation crippled

Himalayan News Service

Pokhara, May 19:

The second day of the three-day Nepal bandh called by Maoists affected public life throughout the country. All public transportation, educational institutions, factories, private banks financial institutes and aviation services remained closed today. Reports from Pokhara said all educational and commercial institutions were closed. Only security forces vehicles, press cars and ambulances plied. On the main roads, security forces escorted microbuses. Government offices were open but attendnce was nil. Prices of vegetables went up by 50 percent. Even the rates of articles of daily use went up.

Likewise, in Tanahun, Lamjung and Gorkha districts, the bandh affected normal life. Main centres of the districts remained close. No vehicles plied. Government offices reported thin attendance. Students did not attend school. Locals were forced to walk miles to reach district headquarters. In Syangja, Liladhar Khanal of Simalbhanjyang of Dhapuk died because there was no vehicle available to take him to Pokhara hospital, said Dhan Prasad Koirala, non-gazetted officer at Syangja DDC. A report from Biratnagar said the bandh threw public life out of gear in the eastern region apart from two districts. Vegetable and essential goods prices skyrocketed in Udayapur district. Biratnagar was totally hit by the bandh. A few rickshaws plied while educational and commercial institutions stayed shut. The regional police office said the bandh had no impact on districts of Khotang and Sankhuwasabha. Reports from Phidim said main centres of Panchthar were shut. Hundreds of grade XI students of Panchthar and Terhathum got stuck in Phidim as no vehicles plied. Another report from Birgunj said Parsa district felt the impact of the bandh. Apart from rickshaws, no vehicle plied. All commercial centres, educational institutions, private banks and airlines were closed. Even rural parts of the district were affected by the bandh.

Birganj Customs Office, which collects Rs 25 million revenue daily, collected only Rs. 335, 2000 today. Dhading district also was hit. Ambulances carrying patients to Kathmandu were forced to stop. No shops except drugstores or hotels were open. Gvernment offices and educational institutions reported low attendance. Locals said Maoists intercepted and interrogated people at several places in headquarters. Nepalgunj also shut down completely. Security sources said no untoward incident occurred. A report from Pyuthan said life ground to a halt in Rolpa and Pyuthan districts. Maoists detonated bombs in various places. All educational and commercial activities remained suspended. Nuwakot shut down. Commercial centres were closed and transportation services stayed suspended. Only security vehicles were seen on the road. Exams for class XI, however, proceeded unhindered.