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Strikes hit handicraft business in Biratnagar

- JITENDRA SHAH, MORANG

Aug 24, 2015-

Series of strikes and bandas has hit hard handicraft businesses in Morang. Strike enforcers have been forcefully closing stores.

“The banda enforcers vandalized my shop. This was before I could sell anything,” 21-year old Pappu Shah of Bhatti Mod, Biratnagar, said. “I have not been able to pay the rent for my shop space on time.”

He has to pay Rs18,000 per month in rent for the store space and Rs5,000 monthly for go-down. He said the only respite for him was the house owner had not followed up for the rents, considering the situation.

Since Shah needs to sustain on daily earnings, he has been taking risk and opening his shop. “I open half shutter. However, people are not coming to buy,” he said, adding the time to make handicraft products for the Chhat festival has already started, but the strikes and bandas have taken a toll on then business. During this time

of the year, traders import products from India targeting the festive season. With vehicles not

plying on roads, the imports

have remained stranded at the border points.

During normal days, Shah earns up to Rs3,000 per day. “Since one and half weeks, I am hardly making Rs1,000 a day,” he said.

Dev Narayan Baniya, another handicraft seller, says has been hardly selling items worth Rs500 a day. During normal times, he said his sales stand at Rs4,000 to Rs8,000 a day. “This strike has caused a big loss,” he said. “The government should try to normalise this situation at the possible earliest.”

Santosh Pandit, another handicraft businessman, has the same story to tell. “There is no demand. I don’t have any option but to cut production,” he said. “We have been just manufacturing to meet orders already made by the merchants.” Pandit and his family, who used to make around 150 clay pots a day, are making less than 60.

Published: 24-08-2015 08:36

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