Tarai agitation hits transporters hard

Rajbiraj, January 19

Transport worker Jibu Jha of Tilathi VDC in Saptari waited anxiously for four months expecting the general strike and the Tarai agitation to ebb so that he could resume work, but after he saw no light at the end of tunnel, he quit his job as bus helper job and left for Punjab, India to find a job.

A family source said Jha is working as a labourer in an agro farm.

Likewise, Bijay Sajhi, who worked in a microbus in Rajbiraj-9 too suffered untold misery and pain due to the protracted Tarai agitation.

After he was deprived of work, he had a tough time feeding family members. Finally, he left for a job in Qatar.

The five-month-long agitation that shut transportation has caused hundreds of workers to wash their hands off r work.

Bus driver Dinesh Raut lamented that the long general strike had caused them to renounce their profession. “If the bandh and strike continue, more than 2,000 transport workers are sure to lose their bread and butter,” Raut said.

Since the prolonged Tarai agitation has broken the backbones of transport entrepreneurs, what to talk of workers, Raut wondered.

The long and painful bandh has left more than 2,000 transport workers in a lurch.

Nepal Trade Union Congress Saptari Chairman Manoj Kumar Mandal said the bandh had dealt a severe blow on transport workers.

Sagarmatha Transport Association Chairman Nuru Lahoda Ansari admitted that since the bandh had an adverse impact on transport entrepreneurs it was natural for workers to feel the pinch.

Ansari said the strike had left many staffers working at 25 branch offices under his association in the lurch in the district.

According to Ansari, transport entrepreneurs too are bearing the brunt as Transport Management Office Lahan has sought heavy

fines for delay in renewal of documents. “Banks and finance companies are about to take back vehicles for failing to clear the bank’s installment, interest and fine,” Ansari said.

He said transport workers were passing through a nightmare.

A comprehensive discussion was held with United Democratic Madhesi Front to solve the problems of transport workers on Saturday.

No agreement, however, was sealed to open the transport service.

A transport entrepreneur said that entrepreneurs from Sagarmatha association had drawn the attention of transport workers to the UDMF.

UDMF Saptari Coordinator Kapildev Yadav said they were serious about the problem facing transport workers. “We shall take the initiative to settle the problem within a week,” Yadav said.

A driver’s helper Chandan Sekhar Nayar said that he went to the station every day expecting the strike to be called off. “But, I am disappointed as I have to return everyday without work,” Nayar lamented.

Another worker Ramesh Paudel urged the government and agitators to call off the agitation pronto.