Once the Rasuwa-Syafrubesi road linking Tibet’s Keyrung customs point is widened, Nepal will no longer need to rely on a single country for petroleum products
The state-owned petroleum monopoly, Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), decided to end the rationing of fuel to private vehicles and provide full cylinder cooking gas to consumers from yesterday, five months after the blockade on the border points. The Ministry of Supplies and NOC decided to end the rationing of fuel and cooking gas following a directive from the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) a couple of days ago. The government had to impose the rationing of the fuel and cooking gas as a result of short-supply from India and disruption at the border points. Two and four wheelers were provided five and 15 litres of petrol, respectively, on alternate week, forcing all the vehicle owners to queue for hours in all fuel stations. Taking advantage of the short supply of fuel and cooking gas, the black marketeers had been selling these commodities at exorbitant prices causing much difficulty to the consumers.
After the blockade on the Birgunj customs points was lifted on February 8 and the Raxaul-based Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) resumed the supply of petroleum products to Nepal, the NOC decided to provide fuel to private petrol pumps on February 12. Birgunj is the customs point that imports over 70 percent of the total fuel required for the country. The Ministry of Supplies has assured that the consumers will get enough fuel and all 102 private fuel pumps in the capital will also be provided with adequate fuel to ease the difficulty faced long by the people. Till Sunday, the NOC used to provide more fuel to 12 state and semi-state owned petrol stations which could not cater service to the people. Around 350,000 litres of petrol is consumed in the Valley a day. But NOC is currently supplying 400,000 litres of petrol per day to ease the supply situation.
NOC officials have said that there is still a short supply of petroleum products despite the fact that the Madhes-based parties officially lifted the blockade on February 8. Unless the IOC resumes supply of petroleum products as per the domestic requirement the situation will not return to normalcy as the country does not have any other alternative to importing fuel from another country. What the concerned ministry and NOC need to do is to increase the stock of petroleum products at least for four months by adding more storage depots at various places; making the distribution system more effective and taking stern action against the black marketeers. On the other hand, the NOC should also provide the development projects with enough fuel so that they can complete the works within the deadline. Many road and hydropower projects have not been able to carry out their works due to shortage of fuel and some of them are working on half capacity. Learning lessons from the recent past, the government needs to allocate enough budget to widen the Rasuwa-Syafrubesi road linking Tibet’s Keyrung customs point. Once the road, an undertaking of the Nepali Army, is widened Nepal will no longer need to rely on a single country for petroleum products.
Taking into account the rampant corruption taking place the constitutional anti-graft body, the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), is seeking property details from all Non-Governmental Organizations, cooperatives and also local bodies to submit their property details if they are operating from government funds. According to the provision, such bodies and their officials regarded as public organizations must provide such details under the Prevention of Corruption Act 2002. Public organizations are considered to be companies, banks, committees, authorities, commissions, and boards, among other institutions, that are fully or partially owned by the government.
The CIAA has become assertive threatening to take action against the defaulters who do not provide their property details. The CIAA has already started the process of looking into these details and has asked the concerned to submit the property details within a time limit that has to be specified. Failure to do so would mean stern action against them as per the laws of the country. Effective monitoring and stern action against the offenders will help fight corruption in the country.