THT 10 YEARS AGO: Oil tankers off road; fuel crisis worsens

Kathmandu, February 14, 2008

Shortage of petroleum products in the capital further deepened today as the tanker operators did not ship any oil through Birgunj, citing security threats due to the indefinite general strike in the Tarai.

“Oil, excluding the dead stock, in the capital is barely enough to meet the demand for a day,” said Mukunda Dhungel, the supplies manager of the state-run Nepal Oil Corporation. An NOC official, who is in Parsa district to facilitate talks to convince the operators to transport fuel from Raxaul to Amlekhgunj (less than 30 km stretch), said not a single oil tanker reached Raxual today.

“We held meetings throughout the day and pledged the entrepreneurs Rs 5,00,000 in case of death and are willing to accept their demand for the same amount of compensation in case of disability,” he said. “We have also assured them of high-level security arrangement directly coordinated by the Chief District Officer and Deputy Inspector Generals of armed and civil police, but they still insist they would think over it.”

He said the entrepreneurs were also insisting that they would not go to Raxual until their ‘big competitor’ — Birendra Das — takes the risk. Most of the 125 tankers operating on that route are owned or hired by Das. He could not be contacted despite repeated attempts. Home Secretary Umesh Kanta Mainali said the government was trying hard to contact and convince Das.

Mainali added that the transporters could have been influenced or intimidated by the agitators or those who want to overshadow the CA election by aggravating the fuel crisis. “Many of the tankers were bought on bank loan.

UML to coordinate SPA probe panel

Kathmandu, February 14, 2008

The first meeting of the investigation committee formed by the Seven-Party Alliance (SPA) today decided to make field visit to Darchula, Baitadi, Sindhuli districts and the capital-based offices of the Maoist-aligned Young Communist League (YCL).

A coordination committee meeting of the alliance had decided on Monday to form the investigation committee to probe cases of clashes between the Maoist cadres and other political parties in Darchula, Baitadi, Sindhuli and police raids on the YCL offices in the capital last week.

The meeting of the investigation committee held at the Maoist central office appointed Shankar Pokharel of the CPN-UML as its coordinator. Coordinator Pokharel said they first settled the procedures of their works and the areas of their visit.

Pokharel said the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction would provide the team with logistics supports during the visit.

Following its meeting, the team met lawmaker Dilendra Prasad Badu of the Nepali Congress, who was allegedly attacked by YCL cadres in Darchula during an election rally there. The team is scheduled to visit the YCL offices tomorrow morning.