Strike Oh Strike: What A Plague Upon Us

Did you know that at least five different organizations and groups had separately called the banda (strike) today in Kathmandu ? Well, that could be more or less by a group of two but just a quick reminder: there was strike in Kathmandu yesterday as well called by more than one group. Then there was severe traffic disturbance in certain parts of Kathmandu the day before yesterday.

Today: Public transport in the Bagmati zone came to a grinding halt on Sunday, the second day of the indefinite vehicle strike called by transport entrepreneurs who have rejected the government’s 25 percent increase in transport fares calling it insufficient.No public vehicles were seen plying the roads in Lalitpur, Kathmandu and Bhaktapur districts. Long-distance transportation has also been affected due to the strike in the capital.

At least four strikes – Valley and Nepal bandas — in a month and many more in the making. As if the rest of the country felt left out in the Valley-only transport strike yesterday called by student unions and transporters’ unions. Starting today, the entire country could be hit by chakka jams and road obstructions if transport entrepreneurs have their way and the law continues to look the other way. The transporters and students will have additional company beginning today- petroleum dealers and petro-product carriers, all of them contributing in their own ways to make life more difficult for the man in the street. Besides, eight student unions affiliated to political parties and transport unions like the Federation of National Transport Entrepreneurs (FNTE), Nepal Petroleum Dealers’ Association (NPDA) and Federation of Nepal Petroleum Supply Entrepreneurs (NPSE) will also join the fray today.

Of late, venting one’s ire on the street has spread like a plague throughout the country. The strike callers are of all varieties – from the aggrieved relatives of those killed in road accidents to transporters to students. It does not matter that a banda or chakka jam announced at the last minute leaves stranded people on their way to work, while setting out on some emergency task, taking someone to hospital, appearing for an exam, traveling the highway, or simply returning home.

The latest round of strikes started with the government announcing a hike in fuel prices and the resultant raise in public transport fares. The government proposed an across the board hike of 25 per cent for public vehicles (but with three-wheelers and micro buses to decide fares through competition) against a 35-45 per cent hike demanded by transport entrepreneurs. Transporters and people employed by them usually park their vehicles astride the roads to prevent all vehicular movement. “If the government fails to address the entrepreneurs’ demands immediately FNTE will halt vehicular movement for an indefinite period across the country from Sunday,” FNTE warned yesterday.

Students who have been enjoying a 33 per cent fare concession are also up in arms. They now demand a 50 per cent concession. The government’s decision to raise the concession to 43 percent is not enough, the students say. [The 43 percent concession is also applicable to the Jana Andolan-injured]. Transporters, of course, oppose this additional hike. On Friday, the students vandalized vehicles at some places and burnt tires in front of colleges in the capital. More such spectacles are expected on Sunday.

“We will continue our protests unless our demand for 50 per cent concession in fares is met,” said the eight students unions after a joint meeting, Saturday. Today was the fourth consecutive day of protests by them.

Petroleum dealers padlocked Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) depots across the country yesterday. NPDA that had announced nation-wide agitations from Thursday (19 June), demanding the the government ease the supply of fuel at the earliest. As a part of the protest, NPDA has announced a halt to the purchase of fuel from NOC depots from Sunday and to the sale and distribution of petroleum products from Monday. This will ensure lengthier queues in front of government-owned fuel supply stations.

Similarly, the Federation of Nepal Petroleum Supply Entrepreneurs (NPSE) on Saturday decided to halt petroleum supply across the country from Sunday. Issuing a statement NPSE said all tankers supplying petroleum products will stop operating until and unless the government increases fares for tankers.

With all sides determined to have their own way, get ready to walk to your destination. The sick and elderly travel at their own risk.





21 responses to “Strike Oh Strike: What A Plague Upon Us”

  1. United Voices Avatar

    It is quite disturbing that ppl protesting on the streets of Kathmandu even stopped and told elderly pillion rider on the bikes to get down. Today @ i saw protesters stopping a vehicle which was carrying prisoners to its destination being stopped. an ambulance was also stopped and there were this unwanted and not to the point queries done by the so called protesters.

    this is not good.

    why do they have to stop the emergency vehicles? if ppl travel may be there was some emergency, may be they were on their way to their offices, home… or anything…. why the hell do the protesters have to stop them… who gave them the right to stop the vehicles on the road?

    Where will this kind of situation take Nepal?

  2. Kirat Avatar

    Why are the Transporter Entrepreneurs saying that the 25% hike in fares unacceptable? The hike in petrol and diesel prices was 25%. I’m sure fuel prices do not make up 100% of their operating costs. So what’s the problem? Are they just out to fleece the public?

    Also why are the students demanding 50% discount on transport fares for themselves? What makes them different from us? I’m sure their school/college fees and living expenses are being paid by their families with the hope that they would study well and get a decent job. Not riot for cheaper bus fares. If they are working to fund themselves then hey we work full time to feed ourselves and our families. We’re already providing them a 33% discount what right do they have to demand more? Besides all the agitating students seem to belong to the political parties such as UML and NC etc. So what’s their real agenda?

    The most frustrating matter is the intransigence of the govt. and the supposed leaders of the nation. They sit huddled in some comfortable place haggling till they turn blue about who will control what ministry and who will hold what post even as the capital and the country burns.

    Now we have a rebellion in the Armed Police Force!

    Who is going to take responsibility for all this mess? Girija Koirala? Prachanda Dahal? or Jhalanath Khanal? Or do they owe no responsibility towards the people of Nepal?

  3. phew Avatar

    all elected by the poeple – poeple are responsible.

  4. guyfromktm Avatar

    Mr wagle should mark this historic day when in this youngest republic ALL petrol pumps have closed down, and all public transportation has come to the stand still and the corrupt and terrorists have issues virtually NO statement on the suffereings of the people but rather continued their political bikckering as the foxes trying to get their piece of meat from this already impoverished Nepal Ama. What a shame!! The people continue to suffer and suffer even more each day and for journlists like Mr wagle everything leading to this situation has been “historic”.

  5. dwaiba Avatar

    Since Nepal has replaced monarchy with anarchy., this is the beginning of anarchy in Nepal

    This is the beginning of the things to come that Prachanda and Giraja are no better than monarchy; they will be far worst . I dare say Nepalese people have been fooled by bahuns…

    I would blame ignorance, and culpability of Nepalese people and its incompetent leaders. Doesn’t Gagan Thapa, a student leader understand basic supply and demand of gasoline. Gas pricing is a global phenomenon, how is he going to change the arise of the gas price by forcing people to close business. How an entrepreneur or a business going provide jobs and money when all these strikes and bands keeps them from operating business…

    We can blame evey body, but end of the day who can solve this mess, monarchy is out, Prachanda and Baburam is alone can not do it, Giraja same old stugg, forget it.. so let the anarchy reign..

  6. mailadai Avatar

    it clearly looks like the country is heading nowhere with this …so much for a ‘new Nepal’ after the end of monarchy! It was just an end for a beginning of more uncertainties in the country. God save the country (clearly the ppl cant get heads or tail out of any situation)!

  7. Major Sharp Avatar
    Major Sharp

    Students, transport entrepreneurs, petroleum dealers all are united. There is cartelling and syndicate among the transport entrepreneurs, which is the real root of transport problem.

    Due to transport cartelling and syndicate, the transportation cost: while importing from India and China, exporting and domestic transportation costs are unnaturally high. There is no competition among the transport services/ companies. Consumers don’t have choice which transport vehicle, from which company to chose. The price and choice of vehicle is dictated by the transport businessmen. This is the root cause of the problem.

    Unfortunately the consumers are not organized, and consumer organizations are not strong in Nepal.

    To solve the above problem:
    1. Consumers should come to streets
    2. Consumers should boycott the Transport services from Cartelling Transporters.
    3. Consumers should use vehicles from transporters not registered as cartel/ syndicate member.
    4. Government should protect the transporters no registered in any Syndicate organizations, by escorting those vehicle.
    5. Government should monitor the cartelling/ syndicating of vehicles, and punish the defaulters, because it is against the Nepalese law to syndicate/ cartel.
    6. Government should monitor there is free competition among the transporters, and punish unhealthy practices.
    7. Government should monitor the quality of service to the travellers provided by the transporters.
    8. Punish the transporters who put more passengers than the ‘blue book’ of the vehicle allows.
    9. travellers should not climb on the vehicle which has more passenger than allowed (consumers should wait for another vehicle to come. This is a sacrifice the consumers should make to protect their own interests).

  8. Major Sharp Avatar
    Major Sharp

    Public transport system of Nepal should be run by Government and Private sector on Public Private partnership approach.

    All the transportation cost then should be figured out scientifically.

    Priority should be given to public transport system, than private transportation. This will reduce the vehicle congestion problem in Kathmandu.

    In the world every Metropolitan city has its own publicly owned transportation system, which is highly developed and very convenient to the commuters/ travellers.

    Why should not Kathmandu have one?

  9. Prithivi Avatar

    I don’t why consumers are not coming to the street who are directly effected by the price hike. Almost all developed countries’ cosumers are coming to the street even in India but we Nepali people are like goat. Whoever and whenever can used by clever foxes in different name.

    Knock…knock the door of civil society…are they for the people or for their internal and external masters…where are they when people are being suffered by the 25% price hike…they are rich with foreign fund in the name of poor people…

  10. Major Sharp Avatar
    Major Sharp

    Regarding the price of the fuel, why the Nepal Oil Corporation has not disclosed publicly the price structure of petroleum products? the disclosure of petroleum pricing system will show the cost price at Bihar refueling station, transportation cost added, shrinkage cost added, dealers commission, all the taxes and VAT added, administrative costs (including Bonus to the NOC staff) and most importantly the ‘unseen taxes’ added that goes to some power centers without anyone’s notice.

    Then people will know if the current price is reasonable.

    Why the government do not bring policy to promote use of alternative energy, cutting dependency on petroleum products. Why cannot government promote the use of CFL bulbs to cut the demand of electricity? so that the remaining electricity can be used in electric vehicles.

    Why don’t the government cut customs duty, and even subsidize on the cost of electrical vehicles? and prioritize on the use of ethanol (readily available from our sugar industries at Rs. 50 per liter) and biodiesel of which 10 to 20% of this can be mixed with petrol and diesel.

    No wonder the government is regressing the progress on the nation with its non-decision.

  11. Major Sharp Avatar
    Major Sharp

    Its high time Nepalese use bicycle again, to go to work and back. Its good healthwise, environment wise and economywise.

    There are some electric bicycle that runs both by peddling as well as by a batterry. This sort of of bicycle costs around Rs. 25,000 to 35000 right now. Govt should levy the customs duty to such bike to 0%, and if possible subsidy and direct its line agencies, ministries and all the gov officials to use such bicycle. These bicycles comes in very modern, sleek style and can carry two persons, and looks like a small motorbike.

    Also the govt should bring out the advertisement in newspapers and media to encourage the use of such bicycles.

    This will cut down our consumption of petroleum products and also help the environment.

    This is feasible in the context of the Maoists vision to produce 10000 MW of electricity.

    A small nation like ours cannot depend on petroleum products from now on…. it has been predicted by world economists that the price of petroleum will rise to 200 $ to 400 $ per barrel in near future. So? why we continue to use them?

  12. dalbhat Avatar

    The ppl simply can’t expect the price they want just because they went on strikes, and whats worse the actual market price isn’t going down anytime soon. Gas price hike is a global issue that the country is facing and we must find our solution that suits our conditions and capacity.

    Major sharp…i totally agree on the use of bicycle…as much of a downgrade as it may sound, ppl in developed (and large) countries are pushing for bicycle use but it may not be practical for long distance but heck, for us it’s the right thing as the country isn’t big after all (hills can be tense but bicycle should be a must in terai). The roads are getting crowded, pollution is getting worse and the gas price! Go get yrself a hero cycle to begin with…

    Do you have any URL for one of these bicycles…who are the vendors selling this…from India?

  13. Ram Prasad Sharma Avatar
    Ram Prasad Sharma

    What are these people doing—— always striking?

    Does these people actually know why are they in the street? Like in the case of fule price hike, it is not government that raised the price. It is the global phenomenon. Neither our government nor NOC can do anything on this… If everyone in Nepal knows this fact, why are they acting like a birdbrain?

    People have too much expectation out of the government. They want everything done by tomorrow. But even when maoist comes into government, they would need enough time to fix the country. But unfortunately it seems like people are not ready to give them time. I

  14. specified Avatar

    some good news we are going to make education fo rall now that bandh is going to be future for always
    no gasoline and get smashed up when going for a walk
    you all need to do aerobics in home and learn english and make movies about human rights animal rights and womens rights

  15. Dialogue Avatar

    are people just lazy or tired?

  16. prithivi Avatar

    These are strike against hunger and for two meals. It has been assured that New Nepal will give many things to poor people. SPA had assured about changing Nepal into Switzerland. It seems that they are nothing more than fraud.

  17. dalbhat Avatar

    Oh there’s a surprise there, Prithvi…Nepal has seen those empty promises for years and we are still like idiots waiting for a change and change is sth like a yeti for us. I just feel horrible for some of the hard working people among us who are better off spending their time, effort and skill elsewhere. Before you ask me to show some love to the motherland, listen up folks…we should learn to love the ppl and help our ppl in ways we can, forget the goddamn government and the idiots running around it(or lack thereof) and their many propagandas we’ve had to swallow.

    Just f*cking leave the country if you can!…and do what’s best for yourself, your family, and you future. If these idiots don’t give a crap about you, heck, why be paying taxes for a government like this or lose your money on education, your bike you recently bought, or you life that’s at stake every day on the street? When I look at these faces on the news…deuba, girija, …I can’t believe they’re still alive playing with our lives. I’m ashamed to say that those are the leaders (hopeless, uneducated, incompetent idiots!) of the country,
    so stop hoping and get yrself out of there….immigration is there for a reason.

  18. Piyush Avatar

    I dont know if any of the Polic officers read this blog.I want to appeal to them.Why dont you arrest and put the vandals and rioters inside?The leaders of these so called yatayat sangh will be talking to govt. regarding getting tax off on the other hand the goons supporting yatayat sangh terrorize and vandalize,it is a different thing to protest and different to terrorize people for moving from one place to another ,it is outright crime.Police officers ! dont you think thats what you guys promised and pleged when you becoma police officers ?Its time to wake up guyS!

  19. Kirat Avatar

    Another stupid Bandh! These organizers say that the bandh is for the benefit of the common people…can anyone of these idiot leaders explain how it benefits the common poor people?

  20. parth guragain Avatar
    parth guragain

    we nepalis shout of democracy from rooftop.we only want to excercise our democracy but not respect others democracy.when somethings occurs which hurt us we try tro paralize everything and force others to support them.this is not democracy by any mean.what i think political parties of nepal have misintreprated democracy .i think that they think that it is the system which give them freedom to act on their will without thinking what impact it will have on public.i think that law should be strict regarding these irrational bands and court should act on those parties which call these stupid bands time and again .it is high time now.

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