Himalayan News Service

Pokhara, May 27:

The second day of the two-day Gandak bandh called by the Maoists had limited effect in Pokhara today.

Most of the shops remained open in the main thoroughfares of the city, including Mahendrapool, Chipledhunga, Prithvi Chowk, Sirjana Chowk, Lakeside and Bagar Chowk. Security forces had asked the owners to open the shops.

However, industrial and educational institutions remained closed. More vehicles were seen plying on the road today compared to that of yesterday. However, vehicles to rural areas and long-route vehicles stayed off the road. Government offices were functioning as usual.

Maoists had called the two-day Gandak bandh to protest the killing of their cadres and leaders, including Raj Bikram Bhurtel and his wife Sita Bhurtel, by the security forces.

According to security forces, security had been beefed up at every junctions of the city to prevent any untoward incident. No such incident has been reported today, forces said.

Though the shops were open, business turnout was low. Daily wage labourers and transportation workers were the worst affected section of the society.

Lekhnath municipality was more affected by the strike than the Pokhara sub-metropolis. Factories and educational institutions remained shut while very few vehicles were plying on the streets in Lakhnath Municipality.

In Syangja, the second day of the bandh adversely affected the public life. Vehicles stayed off the roads and factories and educational institutions remained closed. The bandh had its effect in rural areas as well.

Meanwhile, thousands of travellers were caught in traffic jam along the Tribhuvan Highway as drivers diverted their vehicles to the Tribhuvan Highway from the Narayangarh-Mugling sector of the road, which lies in the Gandak area. The drivers did so to ward off any untoward incident during the Maoist-called two-day Gandak bandh. Traffic jams were mainly observed at Sim Bhanjyang, Aghor and Jhirghari.

Save the Prithvi Highway, the Tribhuvan highway is the only highway for vehicles heading for and departing from Kathmandu.

As a result of the traffic jam, the District Police Office, Makawanpur, allowed vehicles to leave Hetaunda only after 3 pm today. Earlier, the police had stopped vehicles arriving from the east and the west from the morning. Many people had to travel on empty stomach as there was no food at the hotels along the highway.