KATHMANDU: The agitating senior citizens, who have been staging sit-ins in front of the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) for the last five months, have warned of self-immolation if their demands are not addressed immediately.
The protest program has been carried out by nine organizations like Dibyeshwari Civil Society, Senior Civil Service Society, Himalaya Old Age Home, Naya Nepal Organization, Sipadol Civil Forum, Fidol Group Service Society, Shahitik Forum, among others. The protestors, who started the sit-ins from March 7, have formed a Senior Citizen Joint Struggle Committee.
“Till date, the government has shown no interest in fulfilling our demands. So, we are intensifying our protest,” The Republica Daily quoted Maha Prasad Parajuli, chairperson of the struggle committee as saying. “
According to him, the committee member will cover their head with a shroud and continuously produce sound using sankha (conch shell) in front of the DoTM from July 10 onwards. “If the government continues to remain indifferent to our demands we will carry out self-immolations,” Parajuli added. “Self-immolation will be our last choice.”
The committee has demanded quick implementation of the Senior Citizen Act, 2006, which ensures 50% concession in public transportation fare for people who are 60 years old or above. Along with the Act, they have also demanded that the Senior Citizen allowance given to them be increased to Rs 3000 from the current Rs 300. They want separate wards for elderly people at hospitals, with free treatment at government hospitals and 50 percent discount at private hospitals.
Similarly, they have asked for 50 percent discount in electricity bill, telephone bill, drinking water and house tax. Likewise, they want some sort of discounts on items like LPG gas, cooking oil, among others. Elderly people must have separate arrangements at holy places like in Temple, Gumba, Mosque and, among others.
Though the struggle committee has submitted a memorandum to every ministry, none have come forward with an assurance to address their demands. Many political leaders from different parties like Madhav Nepal, Lokendra Bahadur Chand, Chitra Bahadur K.C andPradip Giri have also visited the protesters to express their solidarity to their movements.
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