KATHMANDU, May 12: Manufacturing and other industrial sectors that were already suffering from power crisis and labor hurdles suffered a huge loss as strikes by various political groups forced them to shut down operations on Thursday and Friday.
The economy suffered a net loss in output of well over Rs 4.50 billion due to the two-day banda, said Pashupati Murarka, vice president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI, referring to the latest industrial output data of Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).
Manufacturing sector alone suffered output loss of about Rs 1.80 billion as banda forced factories to shut down productions across the country, said Murarka.
Additional losses came mainly as the strike also stalled mining and quarrying works, construction, retail and wholesale trade, transportation and restaurants.
“We fear the situation could turn worse in days ahead. In the absence of clear political understanding, various political and non-political groups are expected to further intensify their voices for and against restructuring of state based on ethnic identity,” said Murarka.
Bramhin-Chhetri group and their allies paralyzed peoples´ lives on Thursday and Friday protesting formation of states based on ethnic identity. Those demanding united Far-Western region as a new state in itself has crippled people´s lives and businesses in the poorest region of the country for over 15 days.
Ethnic groups and their allies have already announced new strike plans, while Madhes based parties toosay they are organizing banda in Tarai for five straight days. Then there are groups that have called strike against the restructuring of the state itself.
With the constitution drafting process heating up and parties standing firm on their postures on different federal structures, industrialists said it was pretty obvious for different groups to ventilate their aspirations.
“They are fighting for their rights. We respect that. But we would also like to request the agitators to understand their duty and responsibilities towards people at large,” said Murarka.
“Every individual and groups possess right to raise demands in democracy. But we are dead against banda, as it encroaches others´ rights and hurt public life,” the apex business body said in a press statement.
FNCCI has also appealed the agitating groups to raise their voices in a productive and democratic manner by holding talks with the Constituent Assembly members and political leaderships. It has also urged the government to take prompt steps to address the looming chaos.
“Otherwise, we fear the general people, industries and country as a whole will suffer a huge blow,” reads the statement.REPUBLICA