The Himalayan kingdom’s agony isn’t over yet. Twelve major companies remain closed. Top of the list is Surya Kiran in which India’s itc has a 69 per cent share, and alone contributes four per cent to Nepal’s revenue. The Nepal government has tried to convince these companies to reopen, promising adequate security, but they remain reluctant to risk lives and losses against threats from the Maoists.
Their closure predates the siege the Maoists had imposed on Kathmandu. It all began on August 16 with bomb explosions in the tennis courts of the plush Soaltee Hotel. The target was specially chosen to undermine the tourism industry which had been on an upswing. Also, the Soaltee Crowne Plaza was among the 12 companies whose business operations the Maoists had threatened to stop because of their ‘anti-labour’ policies. With guests evacuated, the 12 targeted companies in an emergency meeting decided to stop all operations from the following morning.