Petrol pumps inside Kathmandu valley have yet again started seeing long serpentine lines of motorists to fill their vehicles with petrol and diesel.

Long lines of motorcycles and other vehicles have started becoming visible at almost all petrol pumps, while many pumps have declared they are not holding any petrol. Motorcyclists and small motorists have started queuing at petrol pumps fearing shortage of petrol.

Today, hundreds of metres long lines were seen at petrol pumps run by Nepali Army, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force. Many petrol pumps have posted 'No petrol' or 'No diesel' sign at the pumps.

The situation unfolded after India, the sole distributor of fossil fuel to Nepal, sent petroleum products at new hiked rate. This has created panic among commuters that they might have to pay higher price for petrol. On the other hand, petrol pumps find this an opportunity to sell their stock gasoline at hiked price. So they take it as opportunity to create artificial shortage of petroleum products.

That's why the increased demand and decreased supply of petroleum products have created the recent problem, which is likely to get worse in the coming days. This is happening because the international price of crude oil has drastically increased in the past few months owing to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. Meanwhile, Nepal Oil Corporation, the sole authorised body for distribution and supervision of petroleum products and cooking gas, has said that the market has ample petroleum products despite the rumours. It, however, has stressed that the corporation is in constant loss as it is compelled to provide petrol at subsidised rate rather than the actual rate.

According to a press release issued by the Corporation, there will be a loss of Rs 10 billion in a month if they continue to sell petroleum products at the current rate. The corporation has stated that it will be very difficult to maintain the petroleum supply system in the coming days with this rate.

The NOC's frequent remarks have created panic among the public that the price of petroleum products could skyrocket any time soon. The shortage has been further aggravated by businessmen who have blocked the transportation of petroleum products across the country with various demands.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 3, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.