22-28 March 2013 #648

Strikers out

Jagadish Ghimire, Kantipur, 16 March

MIN RATNA BAJRACHARYA
I have cancer and go for regular chemotherapy. But every time there was a banda, the ambulance journey from my home to the hospital used to give me nightmares. The banda enforcers would stop the ambulance and ask, “Where is the sick one?” Due to my fractured back, I am not able to lie down while travelling so I would be seated. They wouldn’t believe me and demand the driver to turn back the vehicle. It used to get so frustrating that I started asking another person to lie on the stretcher so that we would be allowed to pass.

The entire country has to suffer because of bandas. The economy is bought to a standstill. Millions of students are kept away from their classes putting their futures at stake. Daily-wage labourers and their families have to go to bed hungry. And those who are ill are deprived of timely treatment. Tourists are left stranded. Fresh milk, fruits, and vegetables go to waste while children cry for food. There is a sudden price hike of daily commodities and farmers and consumers have to bear the brunt. The violence and vandalism that take place during strikes costs us millions every year.

I have a proposal: in the upcoming elections, no one should vote for parties or candidates who organise bandas. They don’t deserve to win a single seat.

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