Kathmandu, April 22

The ongoing protest activities of transport entrepreneurs against the government’s move to end syndicate system in the transportation industry has suffered a major setback as operators of fuel-ferrying tankers have said they are not in a mood to disrupt supply of petroleum products.

Though fuel transporters initially had expressed their solidarity with the series of protest activities announced by transport entrepreneurs, Nepal Petroleum Transporters’ Federation (NPTF) has decided to operate tankers regularly citing that shutting the service will affect fuel supply in the domestic market.

“We are against the decision of the government to scrap different transport bodies. However, we cannot stop ferrying petroleum products as we are government appointed

contractors,” said Khageswor Bohara, president of NPTF, adding that fuel transporters are bound to comply with the direction of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC).

In the backdrop of fuel transporters backing the agitating public transporters and their decision to impose indefinite public transportation strike from May 10, NOC had

recently warned fuel transporters that it would scrap their contract with the corporation if they are found to be disrupting fuel supply in the name of solidarity with protest activities by public transporters.

Agitating transport entrepreneurs last week had announced a series of protest activities against the government’s move to end the prevailing syndicate system in the domestic transportation industry. Their protest activities range from sit-ins and strikes to shutting public transportation service across the country indefinitely.

However, the government has in recent months started taking stern action against practitioners of syndicate system in the transportation industry and activities promoting such anti-competitive practice in the sector. As a result, many transporters have already backed away from the protest activities announced by the Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs Association (FNNTEA) — the umbrella body representing the country’s public transport entrepreneurs.

The transport syndicate system has gripped the domestic public transportation industry and has prevented healthy growth in the sector since many years. Ending the monopoly of transporters in the public transportation sector is expected to not only ensure the sector’s healthy growth but also bring Nepal’s public transportation sector — which has transactions worth billions of rupees annually — under the income tax net of the government.