Editorial: Hassles continue

The public should know when the supply of these essential commodities will be normal and what the government is doing about it

It has been almost three weeks since the Nepal Oil Corporation started distributing fuel to the private vehicles, both the two-wheelers and four-wheelers, yet the serpentine queues of these vehicles in order to procure the fuel still can be seen. These vehicles  line up from early morning till late at night in order the procure the fuel, but still there is no guaranteeing that they will be provided with it, adding to the agony of the consumers. The relatively smooth supply of fuel in the capital and other parts of the country is possible if the authorities strictly monitor the distribution of fuel so that no illegal activities take place in the distribution of fuel and cooking gas. The government can arrange for more security personnel to ensure that people receive fuel in a fair manner which is not happening now as still many vehicle owners are resorting to buying fuel in the black market.

In order to facilitate the supply of fuel and even cooking gas to the consumers, the authorities concerned need to inform them when the commodities would be available and in what quantity. Most petrol pumps start distributing the fuel only in the late afternoon, continuing the process late into the night, thus aggravating the inconvenience. Furthermore, monitoring is more difficult and less reliable during the night and unscrupulous dealers are likely to resort to unfair practices under cover of darkness. If fuel were distributed from an earlier time, also increasing the length of the distribution period, the hassles faced by the general public could be reduced. Instead a blame game is taking place amongst those entities which have to do with distributing the fuel. The NOC says that it is being supplied with the fuel from the Indian Oil Corporation only equal to 70 per cent of the quantity received during normal times. The Nepal Petroleum Dealers’ National Association on the other hand insist that they are not being supplied with the needed quantity of fuel from NOC and the supply of fuel would normalize if they are provided with an adequate amount of fuel for distribution. The NOC says that it is able to distribute fuel to the petrol pumps only from the afternoon as it takes at least three hours to carry out the necessary preparations like testing the quality of fuel in the depot and also the bank’s process.

At one time fuel had been rationed due to the unofficial blockade. But now since the Raxaul depot of the IOC has begun supplying fuel after the lifting of the blockade and reopening of the Birgunj trade route from February 8, the consumers need an explanation from the Government why this situation persists. The situation is even worse when it comes to cooking gas. But the hassles being faced by the public seem to be even greater than the actual shortfall in the supply. This points to serious shortcomings in managing the distribution of the petroleum products. The public should know when the supply of these essential commodities will be normal and what the government is doing about it. It should be ensured that the dealings made in diesel, petrol, kerosene and cooking gas are transparent. Those not going by the rules should be made accountable and thereby punished.

Illegal channel

Hundi is a business of transferring money through an illegal channel. All people engaged in financial transaction, trade and commerce are well aware of the fact that doing any kind of business through hundi is illegal. This illegal business has been a commonplace within the country and outside. Most of the migrant workers outside the country are still sending their hard-earned money to their families through this risky channel.

Police have recently busted rackets of hundi business from Mahabouddha, a business hub of Chinese goods, Thamel, Sundhara and New Road. The hundi business came into full swing after a large number of people started working in the Middle East, Malaysia and other countries as there was no legal channel to send money back home. Before the central bank imposed a ban on hundi it was catering services to the migrant workers. As it has been labeled illegal the businessmen and migrant workers must follow the banking channel to carry out financial transactions. Doing business through banking channels will surely help maintain financial transactions transparent and ordinary people also benefit from formal channels.