The federal government has expanded the areas of ban on strike or bandh in production, supply, sale and distribution of essential goods and services.

According to a notice published by the Ministry of Home Affairs in the Nepal Gazette yesterday, the ban was imposed on exercise of powers conferred by Section 3 (1) of the Essential Services Operation Act, 1957, to make necessary arrangements for smooth supply of essential goods and services in a systematic manner.

Each order for restriction on strike in essential services is effective for six months. It can be renewed after that period.

As per the notice, the government has increased the areas of essential goods and services to 25 from the existing 22 where strike or bandh is prohibited. The newly added areas of essential goods and services are related to services to be provided by the Department of Consular Services and the Department of Passport, and internet service.

The essential goods and services continued by the government for prohibition of strike include postal, telegram or telephone services, transportation services (road, water and air) and airport runway and aeroplane repair and maintenance services.

The government has also banned strike in mint or government press, any service of defence affairs of the government related to the function of arms, ammunition or production of any military goods and services concerning internal security, communications, and services pertaining to internal security.

The other service areas include water supply and distribution, tourism sector (motel, hotel, restaurant, resort), supply of petroleum products, including Liquefied Petroleum Gas, health services in hospital and health centres, ambulance, production and sale/distribution of medicines, waste management (collection, transportation, disposal and recycling), banking, insurance, electricity supply, transportation, storage and distribution of consumer goods including rice, lentils, edible oil and salt.

Similarly, the ban on strike covers weather forecast, flood forecast and early warning information system, surgical mask and hand sanitiser production and veterinary service.

If any person stages a strike or encourages others to do so in essential public services, the local administration will initiate legal action against him/her under the act which stipulates a provision of an imprisonment not exceeding one year or a fine of Rs 1,000 or both.

A version of this article appears in the print on June 2, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.