Forest guards on strike to push demands

Dhading, September 6 :

Daily work came to a halt in the Dhading District Forest Office (DFO) today due to forest guards’ strike that began a week ago. The forest guards are demanding that they be re-designated as technicians, among others, and that the appellation of forest guard be removed from them.

Under their nationwide programme, the forest guards have forwarded a seven-point charter of demands to the concerned authorities. The guards and forest work assistants have been staging a sit-in in front of the DFO gate since Friday. The sit-in will continue until their demands are met, they said.

“We have brought official work to a halt for a week,” said Nar Bahadur Bhandari, secretary of the forest guards’ union, Dhading.

“We were compelled to protest as the government has been indifferent to our demands.” He added that the forest guards’ central committee also sent a memorandum to the Prime Minister on August 17.

Meanwhile, a report from Rautahat said the Rautahat forest guards’ union has been staging a sit-in at the main gate of DFO, Chandranigahapur, with a seven-point charter of demands since September 1. If the demands are not met, they will step up their protest, the forest guards have said. Sixty forest guards headed by union chairman Birendra Tiwari are staging the sit-in.

Expressing solidarity with the protest, district chairman of the Nepal Sadbhawana Party (Anandadevi), Sheikh Nurul Hoda said that the government ought to fulfil the forest guards’ demands.

A report from Hetauda said that the forest guards’ today prevented mid-region forest director Ram Prasad Poudel and District Forest Officer Rishi Ram Tripathi from entering the office.

Kiran Kumar Chhetri, chairman of the Makawanpur district forest guards’ union, said: “The director has warned us not to stage a sit-in here. So, we have to launch a protest against the warning also.”