Foreign Affairs

Why Bandas should be banned forever?

Banda( strike) bleeds the economy.Be it the political parties, groups or people, all are not ignorant about it.However unfortunately, for this and that reasons they are not showing any sign of calling it a day.Most of the political parties who don’t get tired out talking about the country’s prospects of development, prosperity and economic growth, are themselves engaged in double game. Prior to the Constituent Assembly elections in 2013,most of the parties vowed to get away with the Bandas. However they still have been resorting to activities like Bandas, strikes in name of fight for people’s rights.But they don’t seem to realise that the very people for whom they said they are fighting for, are instead been badly hit by these kind of activities.Especially the people who couldn’t feed themselves even if they didn’t work for a single day are the worst affected group. The recent data of Central Bureau of Statistics suggest that around 21 lakhs(2,100,000) workers are affected by any kind of strikes.Among them, 300,000 are in transportation sector alone.Other 97 lakhs self employed people are also affected as they couldn’t run their businesses on the day of Banda and many a time, the private and public property,shops among others become the victim of vandalism during the strikes. During Bandas, the most affected component of public life is the vehicular movement and hence affects the easy public movement in whole. The vehicles,be it private or public which ply during the Bandas often become victims of arson and vandalism. Many a time, I have seen situation where the security forces become mere spectators even when the private and public property are been damaged by the Banda enforcers.This boosts the morale of the Banda enforcers and creates the psyche of fear among public to defy Bandas. Moreover this also indicates public loosing faith on the governments they have elected. Many Banda enforcers who are apprehended are also released within few hours or are later released after entering into agreement with the agitating party which usually puts forward the release of its cadres as the main demand.
Let’s look at the major reasons behind the Bandas. Though, many reasons may appear however I think there are two major reasons, in principle. First and foremost, it’s the irresponsible manner of the agitating party to make general public suffer to fulfil their demands. So,there is a need of sea of change in the thinking of the political parties that in the changing context general public no longer support the Bandas and they are now more for the economic growth and prosperity. Another reason is the concept which is deeply rooted in our society that ‘until and unless you hold the state on ransom, it is not going to fulfil your demands. That’s a very wrong thinking. Nepali state is much responsible for the emergence of this concept. Many believe that, state turns deaf ears even to the genuine demands if they are raised through peaceful means. A burning example of this is the Maoist insurgency which plagued the country from1996 to 2006. Though I couldn’t agree with the violent means Maoist resorted to, I couldn’t also disagree with their some demands which are really genuine for the upliftment of our society and the backward as well as marginalised groups.
Effects on Economy
Bandas badly affect the economy. The data of Nepal Rastra bank, the country’s apex bank, show that a strike costs 1.8 billion rupees per day at current prices. Such Bandas incurred a loss of 27 billion rupees in one year between 2008-2013. During this period the total loss in economy stood at 117 billion rupees and the annual GDP growth rate decelerated by 0.6 to 2.2 percentage. The Bandas mainly add peril to the transpiration sector which has 1 trillion 8 billion 86 crore rupees investment till date.

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