Far-western hilly districts face effects of Tarai strike

Dhangadhi, March 9:

The indefinite general strike called by Tharu community for the last eight days has affected normal life in the hilly districts as well of the far western development region.

“People in over 11 VDCs are starving as the stock of rice in Nepal Food Corporation has depleted,” Bishnu Budha of Kolti VDC of Bajura said, adding, “A kg of rice costs Rs 60 in Kolti bazaar while other food items like pulse, sugar and cooking oil are in short supply.”

“There is also an acute shortage of essential commodities in Doti bazaar. As the loaded trucks could not leave for the hilly districts due to the Tarai bandh for the past eight days, we are facing a severe shortage of food items, petroleum products and cooking gas,” Kalidas Joshi of Silgadhi, Doti, said. Rural areas of Baitadi and Darchula fare no better as the loaded trucks from Kailali and Kanchanpur districts have not been able to reach the hilly districts due to bandh. “Rural folks will starve if the bandh is not called off immediately,” Siddharaj Bhatt of Gothalopani of Baitadi said.

“Though the agitating Tharus called off the bandh for a few hours on the fifth day of the bandh, food and essentials available in the market was not sufficient to meet the demand,” Ganesh Bhandari, a businessmen based in Dhangadhi, said.

Over 25 loaded trucks used to leave for seven hilly districts of the far-west every day before the bandh, he said. “If the bandh continues, people in the area may die of hunger,” he said. The bandh has also affected people returning home from India for Holi festival. Passengers have been forced to walk all the way to their homes.