It is high time that the government came up with a concrete strategic plan to ease the supply situation
It has been exactly one month since the KP Sharma Oli-led coalition government was formed. As soon as the government was formed it has faced unprecedented crisis due to blockade of essential commodities including the petroleum products and medicine. The acute scarcity of the essential goods has led to a humanitarian crisis and most of the health services, tourism, agricultural, industrial and educational sectors have suffered a setback due to the blockade at the customs points for the last 46 days. If the situation remains unchanged for a couple of weeks to come the country’s overall condition will further deteriorate beyond the possibility of immediate recovery. For the last one month the government, political parties and the Parliament were busy in filling the important vacant constitutional positions including the president, vice-president, speaker and deputy speaker.
Now, the government does not have any time to waste. It has to deliver services to the people on a war footing as the normal life across the country is getting from bad to worse. After one month since its formation the government on Monday passed a special resolution requesting the Indian government to contribute to strengthening the relationship between the two countries by normalizing the supplies of essential goods from the major customs points. It took one month for the government to approach the Indian government to write about the hardships faced by the Nepali people due to the obstructions at the customs points. Such measures should have been taken much earlier as the situation had already become serious before Oli came to power. On the other hand, the government has also apprised the Indian side that it was serious about addressing the reasonable concerns of the agitating Madhesi parties who claim that it is they who have blocked the customs points.
As things stand, the government has to inform the public what is its clear plan to ease the supplies of essential goods. PM Oli was supposed to address the nation yesterday about the difficult situation confronting the country and his preparedness about tackling it. But he cancelled the plan and is reported to address the nation after Tihar. People were expecting something from the PM about how the government would tackle the crisis. The PM should tell the public about his action plan to deal with the current situation so that the people can be assured of his next move. It is high time that the government came up with a concrete strategic plan to ease the supply situation either by re-strengthening the supply routes through Tibet or using diplomatic channels with India. The government and the major political parties cannot shy away from their collective responsibilities of addressing the political and constitutional issues raised by the agitating parties in the plains, making clear what demands can be fulfilled and what not. It is the duty of the government and the ruling parties to reach out to the agitating parties, who have recently joined the parliament, so that the problems can be resolved through negotiation. Let actions speak out; not words.
Nepalese are now in the midst of celebrating Tihar, a five-day long festival widely considered to be the second most important festival among the Hindus in Nepal. This year the festival is being observed too but in a somber manner. The undeclared blockade has made life difficult for us. Scarcity of much needed items like fuel and other essentials has hit the Nepali people hard who were counting on being able to celebrate this major festival in style. Yet the spirit of the Nepali people has not been dampened as they go about celebrating the festival worshipping crows, dogs, cows by feeding them with delicious edibles.Goddess Laxmi is also worshipped during this festival. Sisters also put tika on the forehead of their brothers on this occasion. The brothers present gifts to their sisters as per their capacity.
However, now as we are reeling under acute shortages of fuel and power outages the resilient Nepali people have not allowed this to dampen their spirit. They have every intention of celebrating Tihar in style praying for prosperity and well-being. With the same undaunted spirit, they are expected to overcome the present crisis.
A version of this article appears in print on November 11, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.