LETTERS: They are trying to survive
I totally disagree with your news story “Fuel black marketing to take toll on economy” (THT, Nov.19, Page 1). The story states that the black marketing of fuel will hurt the economy. Being a Westerner living in Nepal I am familiar with demographics, finance and economies, and how these are all interdependent. When a government fails to ensure that basic needs of the people are met, people do what they need to do to survive. When government control and manipulation of finance and markets fail, people find a way to make things work for themselves. The free market always finds a way. The black-marketing of fuel is just one example. Enterprising people running fuel across borders are in fact saviours of the economy. Because of them buses are able to run and people can go to work generating income and paying tax. Money is currency, it circulates. The workers’ income isn’t locked away; it pays for food and services. This pays the bus driver, the vegetable seller, the barber, the phone recharge seller etc. Imagine if there was no fuel at all. Hospitals would shut down, no food being able to be transported to the cities from the farms, no generators for cooking and lighting. This would be a dire situation indeed. Without the ability to earn an income, people will starve, taxation payments will cease, and a severe downward spiral will begin, a spiral that will take a lot to recover from. To put this in perspective, the losses to the economy caused by this prolonged fuel crisis will be huge, and will probably equal the cost of building a 4-lane super highway direct to China. Doing this would ensure medicines are available, continual fuel availability, and prevent the risk of future embargoes from India. It would gain Nepal greater strength and independence. Let’s not be too hard on the fuel black marketeers, like everyone, they are just trying to survive.
Tes Tesla, Kathmandu
With all the festivals coming to an end, time has come to reopen all the schools, colleges, universities which had remained closed for around a month. Though some schools had resumed their classes shortly after Dashain holiday, many of them could not do so due to lack of fuel. The condition will be no different to colleges which are supposed to restart their classes in the first week of Mangsir. As a matter of fact, the government has been unsuccessful in resolving the protracted political situation and making petroleum products easily available. As a result, we are having a hard time to arrange two square meals a day and to commute around. In this adversity, studies are likely to be hampered as it will be difficult for students, teachers and other staff to travel to and from their institutions. As a student, I feel much apprehensive of how the government will tackle this situation in the days to come.
Anit Kunwar, via e-mail