Birgunj, February 11

Entrepreneurs in Birgunj have demanded that the government announce relief package for them, saying industry and trade suffered a huge setback due to the protracted Madhes agitation.

“The strike and blockade of border entry points affected the entire economy of the country. It is clear that no entrepreneur is in a position to resume his business without government’s support,” said Chairman of Birgunj Chamber of Commerce and Industry Pradip Kedia.

As per the study conducted by the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the country so far has borne a loss to the tune of 10 billion rupees due to the strike and the blockade.

“Earlier when the blockade was on, we didn’t realise how much loss we had borne but now that we have resumed our businesses, the extent of the loss has taken us by surprise,” said Commerce and Supply Committee coordinator of FNCCI, Bijaya Sarawagi, adding, “There is not a single entrepreneur who was not affected by the Tarai unrest but those based in Birgunj have been hit the hardest.”

The blockade at Birgunj border entry point was formally lifted only recently, three days after the locals of the bordering Indian villages removed the tents at the sit-in site on February 5.

“To talk about our plight in Birgunj, no factory, trade or business ran for two complete months and even when they resumed running them was difficult given the lack or high prices of raw materials,” said former chairman of Birgunj CCI Ashok Kumar Baidhya.

FNCCI member Shok Kumar Temani said, “The government has to declare all the affected areas as crisis-hit and exempt industrialists and traders in Birgunj from taxes at least for the next five years.

He also urged the government to find a lasting solution to the Madhes crisis.