Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Street power


After raising petrol prices for the third time in three months, the government has finally rolled back the price hike. It had to bow to the demands of the people after the valley and the entire nation protested on the streets for two consecutive days. However, the protest programs did affect a lot of people. Media staff were attacked by protesters while even the sick were made to climb down from the ambulances.

The government, parliament and the country administration decided to raise the fuel prices without considering the impact it would have on ordinary people. Although the students went into the streets to protest the inconsiderate price hike, they clearly were no more considerate when it came to humanity.

The protest was expected, but the protest organisers were incapable of controlling the infiltration. Those against the CA polls can take advantage of mass demonstrations like this and put the blame on the political parties and students. At a crucial period like this, protest organisers need to be careful about infiltration.

The almost blind and deaf government pays no heed to small and insignificant protests. It took a huge demonstration like the one we had on Wednesday to roll back the prices. It would be in the best interests of everyone if the protests could be strong enough to make the government listen but at the same time not affect the daily lives of ordinary people.

Editorial in Kantipur, 24 January

The seven parties' decision to hike the petrol prices on Monday and then roll back the prices on Wednesday shows how gullible the government is. Generally people are always against a raise in petroleum prices. The protest after the price hike should have been anticipated but the government failed to plan anything ahead of time. When organisations related to the parties in the government took to the streets, the government could not stand by its decision.

After the increase in oil prices in the international market, the government had no option but to raise prices. However, it did not do its homework before raising them. The Nepal Oil Corporation should have told the public about the international prices and its accounting losses before the price hike.

NOC is yet to provide a reason for the price hike. It has not answered questions about how much tax the government pays or why the tax can't be reduced.

Statements from NOC's chief officer claiming the prices of petrol and diesel were raised to control adulteration show how irresponsible the corporation is. NOC needs to improve massively. It should make sure its customers get their money's worth when they buy its products.

A year ago the government decided to let private investors distribute petroleum products. They had even registered a bill, but the parliament has not been able to implement it. The government needs to tell the public why the bill has not been implemented. The roll back on petroleum prices after two days of protest shows the streets make the decisions, not the government.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)