POKHARA: President Dr Ram Baran Yadav’s arrival in Pokhara to inaugurate International Symposium of Community Forest brought the city to a standstill, as traffic and people’s movement was restricted for four hours.
The stretch from Prithvichowk to Birauta was sealed at 8 am, 90 minutes before the arrival of President. Journalists who were not invited by the organisers were barred on the stretch. Up to 1,000 security personnel were deployed to thwart any Maoist plan to disrupt the function attended by Dr Yadav.
The route from the airport to Hotel Pokhara Grand, the venue of the programme, was flush with security personnel, who restricted the movement of civilians. Shops on the route were shut and policemen could be seen even on house tops. Students heading to schools could be seen stranded on the way. The vehicles bound to Syangja and Butwal via Siddhartha Highway were stranded in the bus park. The traffic on airport-Birauta stretch resumed around noon only after Dr Yadav returned to the airport. From the airport, the President took a chopper ride to western regional headquarters of Nepal Army, where he would spend the night. Meanwhile, Birautachowk remained tense for a while due to the demonstration of Maoist cadres, who were burning effigies, waving black flags and shouting slogans.