HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
BIRATNAGAR: About 30 per cent of public vehicles in the eastern region had stopped plying from today due to shortage of diesel.
“The problem has worsened after the NOC and local petroleum dealers have failed to supply diesel for us,” said Kishor Dhamala, member of Independent Transport Workers’ Association of Nepal.
About 35,000 private and public vehicles including buses ply in the eastern region, and according to Dhamala all vehicles would be compelled to stop plying in coming two days unless immediate measures are not taken to ensure the smooth diesel supply.
According to the Nepal National Transportation Entrepreneurs’ Association member Pushpadhan Shakya, vehicles have not got diesel since two weeks. He said about 50 per cent of the busses plying to and from Biratnagar had stopped operating from Wednesday. More than 2,000 vehicles ply daily.
In the eastern region alone, there is a daily demand of about 1.5 lakh litres of diesel for the vehicles. From Biratnagar alone abo-ut 16 buses depart for Kathmandu, two for Pokhara and one each for Dhangadhi, Nepalgunj and other western cities but owing to the diesel crunch, we have been unable to operate the long-route vehicles, lamen-ted the entrepreneurs.
Some long-route vehicles are left stranded in the midway after they ran out of the fuel during their journey.
Meanwhile, Shakya attributed the ‘artificial’ diesel shortage to the ill intention of the dealers to gain more profit by selling the diesel to factories and industries at higher price, adding, that the dealers sell one litre of diesel at Rs 88 to vehicles and at Rs 99.69 to the industries.
Nepal Oil Corporation regional office Biratnagar Chief Dipak Baral, however, said the diesel shortage began after India cut its diesel supply for the past 20 days. “We are now doing the needful to solve the problem,” he said, adding there is no stock of the diesel even for a day.
“There is a demand of 4.5 lakh litres of petroleum products in the eastern region and we have been unable to meet the demand,” said Baral.