Desperate times call for desperate measures. Residents of Sallaghari in Bhak­tapur neighbouring Kath­m­andu did just that on Wednesday.
Angered at continuing scarcity of cooking gas, they intercepted five vehicles carrying LPG cylinders and distributed among themselves after paying for them and handing over empty containers.
Apart from daily power outage of 14 hours, Nepal is at present going through an acute fuel and cooking gas crisis. Wedn­esday’s incident was a reflection of the grim situation.
PM Baburam Bhattarai met petroleum and LPG dealers on Thursday. News reports say he has requested India to increase supplies to ease the problem.
“I have personally talked with Indian authorities for ending the crisis. Fuel supply related problems will end soon,” BP Chaudhary, minister for commerce and supplies quoted the PM as saying.
Nepal needs nearly 20,000 tonnes of cooking gas every month—the demand soars to 25,000 tonnes during winter. But last month Nepal Oil Corporation managed to import only 11,600 tonnes from India.
Indian Oil Corporation is the sole supplier of petrol products and cooking gas to Nepal Oil Corporation.
Hoarding by agencies and black marketing have also added to the problem. Hotels and businesses consume 40 pc of cooking gas and agencies sell cylinders to them at a premium at the cost of other consumers.