Kathmandu, May 7:
Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai Monday urged the protesting groups of the far-western development region to call off their strike.
The region has remained shut down for the last 10 days by the locals demanding that the region should not be divided while restructuring the state.
Talking to media people at Singh Durbar, Dr. Bhattarai said that the agitation would not give any solution to the problems and urged the agitators to end the general strike and sit for dialogue.
He said that the government was ready to address the demands of the people.
"Strike will not provide any solution," he said.
He said that the agitation had affected normal life and assured the people of the region that the political parties were ready to address their demand.
He informed that the government had directed the concerned bodies to initiate dialogue to end the agitation.
He also appealed to all not to give continuity to the strike.
He said that the government was ready to end the problems through negotiation.
Meanwhile, the leaders of the three parties also demanded the Prime Minister to take steps to resolve the problems of the far-western region.
During the meeting of the three parties, the leaders urged the Prime Minister to take initiative to end the general strike and agitation in the region.
On the occasion, the PM said that the government was ready to hold talks with the protesting groups and told the party leaders that the government was ready to resolve the problems through dialogues.
Meanwhile, the agitating groups of the Far-Western Development Region who have shutdown the region for the past 11 days Monday showed their readiness for a dialogue with the government.
After Prime Minister Dr. Bhattarai formally called them for a dialogue, the bandh supporters organized a press meet here showing their willingness to resolve the problems through talks.
"We are ready to hold talks with the government but the talks should be held in the Far-West," said Hari Regmi, communications coordinator of the ongoing Far-West general strike at the press conference.
Regmi said, "Talks should be held in Seti-Mahakali area as the protestors could not travel to Kathmandu to hold such talks," he said.
Regmi said, the talk team from the agitating side would be coordinated by Gopal Deuba, who is coordinating the ongoing general strike in Kailali district, after the government fixed the date and place.
"We would like to incorporate representatives from the nine districts in the talk team," Regmi said.
Deuba, however, said their ongoing general strike will continue until the talk yield the outcomes.
Meanwhile, general strike affected normal life for consecutive 11 days Monday. People were facing a short supply of medicines, daily food and cash in Kailali.
Hundreds of passengers who arrived here from India were stranded in various parts of the district.
All air and transport services, government offices, schools, markets were shutdown completely.
The strike also brought life to a grinding halt in Mahendranagar.
The Undivided Far-West Unified Society (Akhanda Sudur Paschhim Ekta Samaj) that has called the strike termed the call of Premier Bhattarai positive. However, it also set a pre condition that the dialogue should be held in Far-west.
Top brass political leaders through their joint statements three days ago had also called them to withdraw their protests. But the Society and Kanchanpur Struggle Committee had rejected the call. Instead, the struggle committee Sunday warned that they would further made public next round of stern protest programme.
As usual, the protestors Monday carried out a rally in Mahendranagar.
Addressing the rally, local party leaders claimed that the leaders living in Kathmandu had no moral right to divide the far-west region.
They warned that their protests would not be called off until they were ensured that the region would remain ‘undivided’.
"If the UCPN-Maoist party decided to withdraw their proposal to disintegrate far-west we will call off all our protests," said Bhojraj Bohara, a local leader of Nepali Congress.
Women, labourers, peasants and dalit community dominated Monday’s rally while the bandh supporters have decided to organize an interaction programme Tuesday. Similarly, they have even made a plan to stage joint demonstration and mass protest rally on Wednesday and Thursday.
Hundreds of passengers who came from Gaddachauki were stranded in Mahendranagar. Though police escorted some vehicles to reach their destination, the bandh supporters obstructed the vehicular movement even during the night time.