HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: The country’s motorists and bikers have been compelled to endure hours of serpentine queues and even pay more in the black market as fuel shortage has been hitting the country hard.
The state-owned oil supplier Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) claims that the scarcity is not due to short supply since it has been distributing fuel according to market demand.
The data –– if correct –– showed that it has been supplying more petroleum products than the normal demand of the market. It supplied 362 kilolitres (kl) petrol on Thursday and 458 kl petrol on Friday against the normal demand projection of 350 kl. But, no government entity –– Ministry of Commerce and Supplies, Nepal Oil Corporation and Department of Commerce –– who are responsible for regulating the market can provide
a satisfactory reason for the fuel scarcity.
“The petroleum business is a completely data-less business,” an official at the ministry lamented. “Even the ministry cannot avail a detailed data of import and supply.”
On the other hand, dealers are saying that the scarcity is due to hoarding by consumers. “The scarcity has been created due to panic among consumers following the frequent scarcity of petroleum products,” said president of Nepal Petroleum Dealers’ National Association Lilendra Pradhan.
However, consumer rights activists have differing views. “Dealers have created this fuel crisis and the government should now start strict monitoring,” said consumer rights activist Prem Lal Maharjan.
NOC will open its Thankot depot on Sunday despite a public holiday, informed deputy director at the corporation Sushil Bhattarai, adding that the corporation is doing its best to end the scarcity.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Commerce and Supplies has said NOC can save at least Rs 200 million every month from recently signed petroleum supply agreement between NOC and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC).
Indian Oil Corporation agreed to reduce and scrap the unnecessary tax burden which will provide relief to Nepal, said
former minister for commerce and supplies Lekh Raj Bhatta. “IOC has also agreed to construct a pipeline from Raxaul to Amlekhgunj which will benefit the country.”