ITAHARI: Shortage of petroleum products has been hitting the eastern region hard as agitating workers shut all the gas stations and petroleum depots for the third consecutive day today. Some 450 petroleum products outlets in the region have remained closed. Also, black marketeering is rife.

Meanwhile, the agitators have maintained that they would continue their stir until the entrepreneurs fulfiled their demands. More than 250 agitating workers from Sunsari and Morang district picketed the regional office of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) today as well. The agitators also organised a corner meet in front of the office.

According to Govinda Prasad Rijal, chairman All Nepal Petroleum Workers Association, Eastern Region, they had initiated talks with the entrepreneurs. However, the meeting ended inconclusively as the entrepreneurs informed that the demands could not be fulfiled at the regional level. According to Mukunda Ghimire, chief NOC Biratnagar, during normal hours 100 kilo litres of petrol, 3500 kilo litres diesel and 40 kilo litres of kerosene is consumed in the eastern region daily.

Both the agitating workers and the entrepreneurs have sought assistance from civil society and political parties, for their cause. The agitating workers are all set for another round of protest programmes as there were no signs of solution yet, informed chairman Rijal.

The workers have been agitating putting forth 17-point demands including permanent appointment, provision of overtime pay and so forth.