KATHMANDU: Unified-CPN-Maoist-aligned All Nepal Petroleum Workers’ Union (ANPWU) has announced indefinite closure of around 108 private petrol pumps across the Kathmandu

Valley from tomorrow.

The declaration was made following the expiry of four-day deadline set by the ANPWU members, and lack of any breakthrough to the ongoing dispute.

The crisis of petroleum products in the Kathmandu Valley will deepen in the wake of the stir threat. “We’ll persist with the strike till our 16-point charter of demands is met. But, we’ve decided not to hinder the supply in the government-run fuel outlets,” said Shiva Prasad Pokharel, secretary, ANPWU. Saroj Pandey, president, Nepal Petroleum Dealers’ Association (NPDA) - the apex body of private petrol pumps across the nation - said that they were compelled to shut down in the face of persistent threats. He blamed the apathetic government again. “The authorities aren’t taking any interest to resolve the crisis. We’re trying on our own to iron out the differences,” he explained. NPDA members have not been able to collect fuel from the Nepal Oil Corporation’s Thankot Depot since last Thursday due to the picketing by ANPWU supporters. All private petrol pumps have run out of their supply.

Meanwhile, the Nepali Army-run Shree Ripumardini Petrol Station at Bhadrakali in the capital has started rationing fuel. Two-wheeler owners can get only 6.5 litres, and four-wheelers can avail of 13 litres due to the depleting stock. Bhuwaneshwor Rajbhandari, in-charge, NOC’s Thankot Depot, said that it managed to distribute 80,000 and 84,000 litres of petrol and diesel, respectively, today to seven state-owned outlets.

The Kathmandu Valley is in need of around 300,000 and 400,000 litres of petrol and diesel, respectively, on a daily basis.

ANPWU members, however, let the Thankot Depot unload supplies that are coming from its NOC’s other depots in Amlekhgunj and Bhairahawa.

Militant union at work

• Whose stir call is it?

ANPWU, a UCPN-Maoist-aligned organisation

• What is the issue?

16-point charter of demands, including issuing appointment letter to workers, government-prescribed minimum wages, life insurance cover and payment for overtime

• No of private petrol pumps to be hit hard:

Approximately 108