Mechi highway strike paralyses life

Taplejung, January 11:

Life has become hell for people in Taplejung district due to the continued shutdown of the Mechi Highway.

Due to a strike called by transport workers, travellers are stranded in biting cold, while businessmen and traders are bemoaning the slump in trade. Purna Kumar Kedariya, who came to the district headquarters from Mehele VDC of the district to go to Kathmandu, said he was putting up in a hotel at an exorbitant rate as buses were not plying. “I am running out of money; I do not know what to do,” he said.

Commoners are bearing the brunt of the strike as talks among transport workers, members of the civil society and the administration were inconclusive. The transport workers said they will not call off the strike until those who recently beat up one of their colleagues were booked and the victim compensated.

Goods like cardamom, chiraita and amlisho (broom stalks) are lying uncarted beside the road, with their owners waiting impatiently for vehicles that show no sign of arriving. Chairman of the Taplejung Chambers of Commerce and Industries Santosh Khatiwada said life for people in this remote and hilly district has become very difficult due to the strike as import and export of goods and produce have come to a grinding halt. He said the business sector had suffered a loss of Rs 10 lakh due to the two-day strike.