Shortage of fuel continues in Kathmandu ValleyGasoline shortages have continued to mount in the Kathmandu Valley despite claims by Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) that it has been issuing adequate supplies.
Gasoline shortages have continued to mount in the Kathmandu Valley despite claims by Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) that it has been issuing adequate supplies. Motorists have been having a hard time due to the short supply during the past few days.
There are 114 private gas stations operating in the valley. Long queues can be seen in front of the few petrol pumps serving customers while No Petrol signs have been hung at most outlets. There are also long lines in front of the petrol pumps run by the Nepal Police, Nepal Army and Sajha.
Private fuel dealers have blamed a cut in shipments by NOC for the current shortage. Lilendra Prasad Pradhan, the president of the Nepal Petroleum Dealers’ Association, said the state-owned oil monopoly had been fulfilling only 70-80 percent of the valley’s requirement.
“At present, the market requires at least 500 kilolitres of petrol daily, however, the corporation has been distributing only 350-400 kilolitres,” he said.
According to the association, the valley’s daily requirement of petrol amounts to 250 kilolitres on normal days. However, with the ongoing strikes in the Tarai region, demand has surged to 500 kilolitres daily. Different groups have been competing to shut down the Tarai in protest against the agreement made by the large political parties over the delineation of the proposed provinces in the new constitution.
Pradhan also blamed panic buying by consumers for the shortage. “Fears of a shortage triggered by news reports of oil tankers being stranded at the Nepal-India border have led motorists to buy more fuel than they need,” he added.
Pradhan said NOC had been distributing petrol only to gas stations located within the Ring Road. “That’s why people from outside the Ring Road have been rushing to centrally located petrol pumps leading to increased demand pressure.”
However, NOC claimed that it had been supplying adequate petrol for the last three days. Corporation Spokesperson Sitaram Pokharel said they had brought 384 kilolitres and 350 kilolitres of petrol on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively to Kathmandu under police escort.
“On Thursday too, we distributed 425 kilolitres of petrol,” said Pokharel,
adding that panic buying could have created a shortage of the product.
According to Pokharel, 99 oil tankers stranded in Raxaul, India for the past week had started moving towards Kathmandu. The corporation has stocks of 1,108 kilolitres of petrol, enough to meet the valley’s needs for four days. Similarly, it has 6,800 kilolitres of diesel, enough for the next 10 days, NOC said.