Citing transport entrepreneurs´ monopoly, people residing along the Beni-Jomsom road leading to the famous Hindu shrine of Muktinath Temple in Mustang have blocked the road on Monday.
According to agitating locals, they were compelled to take to the street against the jeep entrepreneurs after the notorious transport syndicate in the region started neglecting them.
Due to the agitation, 105 visitors and tourists traveling along the Jomsom-Muktinath route have been stranded, said Deputy Superintendent of Police Govinda Prasad Pathak of Mustang.
Pema Gurung, former vice-chairperson of the District Development Committee, who is also a social activist, informed that the locals were forced to stage protests against the syndicate because they were not allowed to operate their jeeps on the route.
Agitating locals claimed that they always felt humiliated by such harsh behavior of the syndicate of jeep entrepreneurs.
Gurung alleged that the jeep entrepreneurs have overlooked the locals´ problems so far and they have also never cooperated with them.
He further said that the locals had put forth their proposal to add new jeeps on the route and their proposal was discussed in the last annual general meeting (AGM) of Jeep Entrepreneurs´ Committee too. However, the committee turned down the proposal, saying that no jeeps would be added this year.
Soon after the rejection of their proposal, irate locals launched their protest against the committee.
According to Mustang DSP Pathak, the committee adds new jeeps on the route once every three years.
“However, we are taking initiatives to sort out the problems,” DSP Pathak added.
In the meantime, Ganesh Sherchan, vice-president of Mustang Bus and Jeep Entrepreneurs´ Committee insisted that adding vehicles on the route will only be permitted after one year as per the committee´s regulation.
“We are trying our best to bring both the parties together to reach a common understanding to resolve the problems,” Yam Bahadur, acting chief district officer of Mustang, said.
A total of 53 jeeps are affiliated to the syndicate that operators on the 21-kilometer long Jomsom-Muktinath road on a daily basis.
It charges Rs 300 to Nepali commuters, Rs 590 for Indian nationals and Rs 650 for other foreigners traveling along the route, according to the committee.