Highways blocked nationwide, transport halted

Biratnagar, March 14:

The Maoist-called indefinite blockade of the zonal and district headquarters paralysed normal life through out the country today.

In course of their blockade, the Maoists obstructed the Morang-Pathari section of the Mahendra highway with stones and felled trees. Transportation along the route was halted for the whole day.

The RNA’s eastern divisional headquarters, Itahari, said an army team had left to clear obstruction.

The Maoists also looted a motorbike and a mobile set from one person on the Mahendra highway today. The person was returning from Damak when the Maoists stopped him at Pathari and seized his motorcycle and a mobile set, said the area police office, Belbari. Maoist obstructions also disrupted local transportation on the Biratnagar-Rangeli road. The Maoists placed stones at the road section near Luwandra river and obstructed traffic. Four buses plying on the long routes left Biratnagar, while the microbuses did random rounds in Dharan and Biratnagar, said the traffic police, Biratnagar.

In the rural areas, there was a total disruption of transportation. The main markets of the eastern region were partially open for Holi, but the local factories operated as usual.

The Maoists detonated a powerful bomb at the land revenue office in Sunsari district headquarter, Inaruwa, yesterday evening. The explosion has caused minor damages.

The blockade also crippled life in Udayapur’s Gaighat. Although the markets remained partially open, transportation facilities were totally halted. Our Nawalparasi correspondent said that life in Nawalparasi was paralysed today, on the first day of Maoist called blockade. Although the blockade was only limited to the district headquarter, no vehicles plied on the Mahendra highway .

In Narayangarh, the blockade affected public life and business today. Long route and short route transportation came to a halt and the roads were deserted. However, youths celebrating Holi festival were seen on motorcycles and rickshaws.

In Lahan, the Maoist-called blockade disrupted transportation on Mahendra highway today.

In Tanahun, the blockade had a partial effect today. The main markets in Tanahun district headquarter, Damauli, Dumre, Aanbukhaireni, Khairenitar, Dulegaunda, Bhimad, Bandipur, Turture were partially open. As transportation came to a halt in the rural areas, the district level examination scheduled to begin tomorrow is likely to be hit as the the school teachers in Tanahun district faced difficulty in collecting question papers from the district education office, the teachers told The Himalayan Times.

Our correspondent in Rupandehi said life in Rupandehi was crippled due to the blockade today. Public transport in Butwal and Bhairahawa, including in the rural areas remained halted, said president of the Western Nepal Bus Entrepreneurs Association, Tulsi Ram Banjade. The Maoist-called three-week-long blockade also affected life in Syangja today. As transportation came to a halt, hundreds of passengers were left stranded. Only few shops were open.

Our Rautahat correspondent said the obstruction placed by the Maoists near Dhansar bridge in Nijgarh-Chandranigahpur road section of Mahendra highway was cle-ared by security personnel at noon. The security personnel used a dozer to clear the obstructions, said police inspector Bir Bahadur Pulami.

Meanwhile, Gaur-Chandranigahpur highway remained closed due to the Maoists called blockade today. The Maoists have not allowed any vehicle to ply in the route.

In Nepalgunj and surrounding areas, transportation was grounded and local markets were closed on the first day of the blockade.

In Kaski, Maoists torched a taxi (Ga 1 Ja 1) in Pumdibhumdi VDC today. The taxi was returning to after dropping passengers. Two Maoists forced the taxi driver, Buddhi Ram BK, out before setting it on fire, traffic police said. Long route buses did not operate from Pokhara. In Gorkha, very few vehicles plied and the long route buses did not run.