Indefinite bandh hits life in Tarai, east

Biratnagar, February 13:

The general strikes called by United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) and Federal Democratic National Forum (FDNF) today hit life in the Tarai and eastern Nepal, respectively. While the UDMF is pressing the government to implement the 22-point understanding reached with the Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum, FDNF wants that the country be declared a republic ahead of the CA polls.

The transport sector, educational institutions, industries, factories, bazaars and offices remained shut. The protesters even stopped rickshaws from plying in Biratnagar. Not a single vehicle was seen on the road in eastern Nepal, regional police office Biratnagar said. Some vehicles from Kathmandu were escorted by the police, but they were intercepted by the protesters in Saptari’s Rupani.

Our correspondent in Udayapur reports that the affect of strike on prices of daily necessities is already visible at the local bazaar. Sugar, salt, pulses and rice have become dearer by 20 to 30 per cent. Similar is the case with vegetables. Cauliflower, which used to cost Rs 8 a kg, is now available for Rs 20 a kg. Even potato price has doubled.

The protesters torched tyres in key areas of Bara. MJF central member Rambabu Yadav claimed that bazaars in rural areas were also shut. An unidentified gang detonated a bomb in the house of medical superintendent of Kalaiya hospital Dr Abdul Rahman on the eve of the bandh last night.

In Birgunj, educational institutions, factories and transport came to a complete halt. Birgunj customs office was also closed. The cadres of the front vandalised two tempos and one ambulance for defying the bandh along the Birgunj-Pathlaiya road in Parawanipur at 08:00 am.

The only railway service in Janakpur was also discontinued today. It was in service in the morning but the cadres of the front brought it to a halt.

In Bhairahawa, the main market bank road and Galla Mandi were shut but other parts of the bazaar were open. Traffic on Bhairahawa-Taulihawa and Bhairahawa-Parasi roads was disrupted.

In Banke and Bardiya, transport sector and educational institutions were shut. Even the ongoing examination schedule was hit by the bandh.

Short and long distance transportation services in Butwal were disrupted, president of Western Nepal Bus Entrepreneurs’ Association Tulsi Ram Banjade said.