The fiasco at Pani Pokhari
This is not the best time for the people of Nepal and this is not a first. I was happy to learn about the government’s decision to allow private vehicles some fuel for the upcoming Tihar celebrations. Desperate for some fuel, I decided to queue at the Trilochan petrol station at Pani Pokhari. I left the car for the night near the Russian Embassy because the length of the queue had already stretched by more than a mile.
I was expecting I would receive the allocated 10 litres so I went back to the queue the next morning all happy and hopeful. It was a festive affair, people were making friends, slamming the ongoing crisis, drinking tea. It was nice. I had a couple of people I knew queuing up with me. My car was 243rd in the queue, there were 275 cars and 800 motorcycles. From what we got from the local news, the petrol station was given 8000 litres. So at the rate of 5 litres per motorcycle and 10 litres per car, enough for all of us.
As the day went on there was little progress in the queue. Some of us were there from early morning and people were beginning to show signs of fatigue. Typical to the Nepali culture I should not hesitate to mention there were people making attempts to cut the queue whenever possible. Finally, at four in the afternoon the queue started to move. After hundreds of time annoyingly starting and shutting off the engine, we were just beginning to hope that the night would end on a positive note. Suddenly, it was rumored at around midnight that the petrol stations were cutting down on distribution. Obviously all vehicle owners went up to the station to inquire about the sudden decision. Most of us had been there from the morning. After sometime they suddenly decided that they would not be distributing petrol anymore.
So, this was my day queuing up at the station. I am not disappointed that I did not get any fuel but more so at how the petrol station tricked us. Firstly, I am unhappy because the public didn’t get what they were promised. I believe that they have hidden some fuel if not lots. The petrol station deliberately delayed distribution to dishearten the people. And the most depressing thing is that there is no initiative from the government to investigate into such matters. Soon, the same fuel will be sold to the public at the ongoing black market where a litre retails for five times its normal price.
After a disgruntled fellow pelted a stone at the station, the police were quick to react.