20-26 November 2015 #783

Where is the oil?

Nagarik, 17 November

Two months since India imposed its blockade, 145 tankers of petrol, 477 of diesel and 142 of gas have entered Nepal from the eastern border, Jogbani, alone. Of these, 108 tankers of petrol, 357 of diesel and 106 of gas were sent on to Kathmandu.

But the residents of the capital are still bearing the brunt of a shortage of fuel. “We sent fuel to meet Kathmandu’s demand, but the people there haven’t received anything. Where did all the fuel disappear?” questions Arbind Sharma of the Nepal Petroleum Dealers’ Association.

The Home Ministry had instructed the administration in Morang to send 75 per cent of all fuel supplies entering from Jogbani to Kathmandu. Since the blockade, 106 gas tankers from Biratnagar alone have been sent to Kathmandu, amounting to 134,620 cylinders of LPG. Yet, consumers here have not been able to purchase cooking gas even though they spend days waiting in queues.

According to Biratnagar Customs Office, there has been no obstruction to the supplies of fuel or other goods entering from Jogbani. Likewise, much of the fuel supplies coming from Kakarbitta and Belahiya have also been sent to Kathmandu.  Obstruction to fuel supplies entering from Belahiya have somewhat eased in recent days.

To be sure, even though there have been no protests or sit-ins at the far-western border, Gauriphanta, only half the normal fuel supplies have been entering from the border crossing.

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