‘Fuel shortage’ fear grips Valley

Kathmandu, March 9

The Tarai unrest has revoked memories of the months-long severe supply crunch in 2015 and instilled fresh fear of a similar situation among Kathmanduites. Hence, panicked consumers formed serpentine queues to tank up outside the fuel stations today.

Dinesh Dangal, a 28-year old resident of Chhuchepati, Chabahil, said he had to wait in the line for almost an hour at a station near his house to refuel five litres of petrol in his motorcycle today morning. He decided to tank up even though he already had almost five litres of petrol in reserve.

“The Tarai unrest is heating up and agitators have even called nationwide strikes in the coming days. Based on the bitter experience of fuel shortage in the past, I thought it best to remain on the safe side,” he explained.

‘No Petrol’ signs put up by a number of fuel stations in the Valley added to the alarm among vehicle owners.

“Fuel dealers often wait for such adverse situations to create arbitrary shortage and make quick buck. As the government’s intervention is weak, consumers have no option other than to be clever enough and fuel up on time,” said Anamika Rai from Gyaneshwor, who was spotted queuing at Nepal Police petrol pump in Naxal.

Meanwhile, Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) officials said there is no sign of disruption in supply of petroleum products and NOC has been providing adequate volume of petroleum products in the market.

“The unstable situation in the Tarai has hit the sentiment of consumers and the demand of petroleum products has surged drastically in Kathmandu Valley. However, there is nothing to worry about,” Sitaram Pokhrel, spokesperson for NOC, said.

As per him, demand of petroleum products skyrocketed in Valley today also because petroleum products were not supplied in market on Wednesday as it was a public holiday.

Pokhrel informed that the corporation has supplied 850 kilolitres of petrol and 950 kilolitres of diesel in the Valley’s market today. The normal daily demand of petrol and diesel in the Valley is around 500 kilolitres and 600 kilolitres, respectively, according to NOC.