Life in Nepal, virtually ravaged by the recent quake in May this year, has once again come to a halt due to violent clashes between protesters and local police and army over the adoption of the new Constitution ratified by its parliament.
Trade and commerce has been widely hit, besides social life by the non-stop violence as the country is held hostage to rioting and strikes.
Sources said, angry protesters set several buildings, cars and trucks on fire and attacked police who countered with tear gas, baton charges and bullets as rioting broke out all along the Indo-Nepal border towns in the Himalayan country-all dominated by Madhesis, or Nepalis with Indian roots .
Madhesis who dominate in some 20 districts of Terai (valley) area claim the new constitution has adopted some objectionable provisions to restrain them and minorities.
However, the violence has hit trade and commerce as transport and communications have been the main target of the protestors. Bihar, because of its proximity to Nepal markets has also been hit as exporters see a tumble down in orders-the biggest in several decades.
Trade watchers say, the monthly border trade worth Rs 1000 crore has been hit as protestors have blocked all exit and entrée points from and into Nepal along the 750-km long Bihar-Nepal borders from Bagaha in West Champaran to Kishanganj at the borders with Bengal.
Kailash Hisaria, spokesperson for Sitamarhi Trade Union said business had never witnessed such a steep decline, not even during and after the quake in Nepal.
“This shutdown is unprecedented, cataclysmic to trade. We are devastated. Over Rs 1 crore of trade per day has been blocked and no vehicle can enter or leave Nepal due to sealing of borders by protestors”, he said.
Raj Kumar Gupta, president of Indo-Nepal Chamber of Commerce said thousands of heavy vehicles, mostly containers on way to Nepal were stranded along national highway 28 A between Raxaul and Sugauli.
“It has created scarcity of edible items in Nepal. The situation in Nepal has hindered the flow of Nepal residents to Indian territory, due which markets have been badly affected,” he said adding, “Business has slumped to Rs 1 lakh from 10 to 12 lakhs a day”.