Petroleum crisis looms in eastern region

Biratnagar, January 12:

Petrol pumps here have been shut since yesterday as the state-run oil monopoly, Nepal Oil Corporation, could not supply petroleum citing lack of stock.

NOC ran out of stock following a blockade of the Biratnagar customs point by agitating jute mill workers for the past one week. Tankers coming from Barauni in India have been stranded on the Nepal border, NOC stated.

NOC, however, has 70,000 litres of petrol in the stock, but it has not been distributed as it is of unacceptable quality. Not long ago, a number of motorbikes had developed snags in the engines, allegedly due to substandard petrol.

General secretary of Petroleum Dealers’ Association in Koshi Guna Raj Niraula said the pumps would resume sales as soon as the workers’ strike ended.

Niraula said 40 distributors in Koshi had stopped selling petroleum products. A shortage of cooking gas also looms large with the blockade of the customs point though the present LPG stock is enough to meet the demand for a few days.