Nepali Times
Update
Migrant workers stranded




NARESH NEWAR

"You have the power. Please request the party leaders to halt the strike for a few days," pleads Suman Shrestha who is unable to travel to his home in Ilam. He recently returned from Saudi Arabia and was going home for the first time in two years. Everyday he comes to the Gangabu bus station but ends up returning to his hotel in disappointment.

Hundreds of other migrant workers are stuck in the capital and are desperate to return home but the buses are not willing to take the risk due to the indefinite strike held all over the country.
"If I don't reach home in two days and get my luggage and papers, I will lose my job in Dubai," says a worried looking Santa Bahadur Thapa from Nawalparasi. After investing nearly Rs 100,000 and competing for a job in a factory in Dubai, Thapa has less than a week to reach home, pack his belongings and fly out of Nepal.

"I'm completely ruined," says Hari Lamsal from Tanahu who came to Kathmandu only to pick his air tickets up.

Nepal's bus entrepreneurs sympathise with those who need to travel back to their homes urgently but are afraid to even propose the idea of calling off the strike. "We would be labelled as the enemies of the democracy movement," explains Santosh Basnet, a bus driver who said that so far only one bus had gone to Kakaribitta today but he fears that it may have been attacked. Sita Bus was reportedly burnt down while heading to east Nepal this morning.

"Perhaps a few days of break from strike would ease things but of course without stopping the demonstrations," Janardhan Karki from the Nepal Bus Association chooses his words carefully while talking to us.

Besides the problem of buses not moving out of Kathmandu, there is also a concern about increases in ticket price. The cost for travelling to Narayangarh is already Rs 750 compared to only Rs 150 before the strike started.

Migrant workers have one big problem now: most of them are already running out of cash due to room and board expenses. In addition, the hotels are also running out of food due to shortage of supplies.

-Naresh Newar



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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