Spate of strikes

Transport strikes and bandhs have almost become a way of Nepali life. Since the restoration of multiparty democracy in 1990, political parties, especially those in the opposition, often resorted to calling indefinite strikes as a means to ends, instead of settling differences through negotiations — thus establishing a wrong precedent for lesser organisations, associations and individuals as well. Even as Nepal enters into a new era following the recent political achievements, bandhs remain the most preferred course of action to take to push for both reasonable or unreasonable demands. Months after the hike in the price of petroleum products that led to a series of transport strikes staged by student unions, transport entrepreneurs and other groups, the government seems least concerned even as fresh issues have come to the fore.

While the shortage of petroleum products has adversely affected transport movement for months, plaguing normal life, traders started bandhs protesting the syndicate system of truckers. While the earlier contentious issues remain unresolved, Seti-Mahakali bus and minibus entrepreneurs have called yet another indefinite strike in the far-western region. The loss that the country has to bear as a result of transport strikes — which affects all commercial activities including business, trade and industry — is anybody’s guess. The new government should resolve all the issues at the earliest and save the country billions that it loses as a result of these undesirable actions.