Maoists’ transport strike throws life out of gear

Himalayan News Service

Chitwan, January 16:

Normal life in the Gandak region was affected today, the first day of the three-day transportation strike called by the Maoists in protest against the hike in prices of petroleum products.

Normal life in Kaski, Tanahun, Gorkha, Lamjung, Manang and Syangja in the Gandaki zone, Rupandehi, Nawalparasi and Palpa in Lumbini, Chitwan in the Narayani zone and Rasuwa, Nuwakot and Dhadhing in the Bagmati zone was severely affected. Following calls from the Maoist-aligned Tumwan liberation Front, Tharuwan Liberation Society and the Tamang Liberation Front to halt transport services and shut down all petrol stations, main markets in Chitwan, Narayangadh, Ratnanagar and Gitanagar remained closed.

No vehicles piled on the highway and attendance in government offices was low. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Bharat Mohan Adhikari, who was scheduled to attend the concluding ceremony of the one-week-long Chitwan festival, could not make it to the programme venue, festival organisers said.

A report from Rupandehi said normal life was affected in the district following the strike. All educational institutes, industries and the factories remained closed. However, vehicles belonging to the Press, important persons and ambulances were allowed to ply. Taking advantage of the bandh, rickshaw-pullers were overcharging people, according to locals.

Meanwhile, chairman of Nepal Regular Blood Donors’ Association, Butwal Chapter, Saroj Silwal, has, in a press release, requested the Maoists to immediately withdraw the strike keeping in mind the difficulty faced by the general public.

According to our Dhadhing correspondent, normal life was thrown out of gear in Dhading and Nuwakot districts due to the strike. Vehicle stayed off the roads throughout the districts.

The Tribhuwan, Prithivi and Kalu Pande Highways wore a deserted look today as vehicles stayed off the roads. A report from Syangja said all educational and business institutions remained closed in the district and vehicles did not ply. The sent-up examination of class ten, which is scheduled to begin on January 23, is likely to be disrupted due to the strike, said Bhuwan Bahadur Poudel, principal of the Tribhuwan Adarsh Secondary School.

A report from Nawalparsi said no vehicles plied on the roads in the district. On the eve of the bandh, Maoists detonated bombs in different areas of the district. Normal life in Hetauda and Pokhara was also affected due to the strike. However, some vehicles plied in some places, including Mahendrapul in Pokhara, following security intervention.

General secretary of the Gandaki-Dhaulagiri public transportation coordination committee, Basant Pradhan, in a press release, has requested the Maoists to withdraw the strike immediately.