JAN 05, 2012 KATHMANDU – Its not a single moment in Nepal that Petroleum Products are shortaged, Many times due to government’s irresponsibility, but most of the time due to price hike in the international market and we could not adjust the same in our market, A recent Protracted fuel shortages have thrown normal life out of gear across the country, with the most hit being transportation, tourism and education sectors.
Although the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) received loans worth Rs 2.5 billion from the government, the market is still witnessing a short supply of petroleum products—evident with long vehicle queues at gas stations.
The situation is such that only around 30 percent of public vehicles operated on Wednesday, according to the National Federation of Nepalese Transport Entrepreneurs. “As per or estimation, vehicle movement has come down by around 70 percent since Tuesday,” said Dol Nath Khanal, general secretary of the federation, adding that although the government increased the fuel import volume on Tuesday, vehicles were still not getting fuel easily.
NOC on Tuesday imported 2,000kl of petroleum—up by 1800kl compared to Monday’s 200kl—from Raxaul depot of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC). “We supplied 301kl of petrol, 355kl of diesel and 36kl kerosene to the Valley on Wednesday,” said Mukunda Dungel, spokesperson for NOC, assuring that the crisis should end by Friday.
Transporters have even started to suspend bus services in some sectors. Makalu Yatayat Sewa, one of the country’s largest organised transport companies, has discontinued its bus services on the Kathmandu-Dharan route for the last week. “As we have not been able to operate buses in full swing, there are many people waiting their turn for buying tickets,” said Ganesh Phuyal, ticket booking in-change at Makalu’s Gaushala counter. Makalu operates 12-15 deluxe buses daily to the Eastern Nepal, but the number now has come down to eight.
Normally, around 350 public vehicles leave for various parts of the country form Gangabu Bus Park every day. “For the last couple of days, the number has come down to below 200,” said Rishikesh Ghimire, secretary of the federation.
Public vehicles operating within the Kathmandu Valley too are facing troubles. The Bagbazar-Kamalbiyanak route generally sees the operation of 60 vehicles a day, but the number decreased to 25 on Wednesday.
People’s tendency to hoard fuel has also aggravated the situation, according to transporters. “That’s why we are finding it hard to get fuel,” said Ram Bahadur Shrestha, former president of the Nepal Metre Taxi Entrepreneurs Association.
Other areas on the receiving end are industries, tourism and education sectors and development work. Amid increased load-shedding hours, industries had been using diesel as the power source, but the shortage has forced them to cut down production.
Nepal Association of Tour Operators (NATO) said they are not being able to provide smooth transportation to tourists. “The government must seek a permanent solution to this never-ending crisis,” said NATO in a statement on Tuesday.
Failing to provide transportation services to students, some schools have announced winter vacation early, while some have extended the break.
Rajesh Khadka, president of the Private and Boarding Schools’ Organisation Nepal and founder director of Jems School, said his school could not provide special classes for the students of class IX and X. Jems operates 72 buses for ferrying students. There are an estimated 1,000 plus school vehicles in the Valley.