Nepal stops fuel for private vehicles, school buses

The Nepal government on Wednesday decided to stop supplying petroleum products to private vehicles and school buses from Thursday, deepening the petroleum crisis in the country in the wake of an undeclared embargo by India.

State-owned Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) stopped giving fuel to private vehicles.

“How can we distribute fuel when our fuel stations are running empty?” said Nepal home ministry’s spokesperson Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, adding that all private vehicles including school buses, tipper and trucks would not be allowed to refill fuel for three days from Thursday.

However, government vehicles and those hauling edible products will be allowed to get fuel.

“The government took the decision to ease the shortage,” said Dhakal, adding that “the duration may be prolonged if the situation persists”.

The government had earlier introduced a quota system for fuel distribution.

Only four tankers entered Nepal on Wednesday from the Sunali-Bhairawha entry point on the Nepal-India border along with some trucks laden with essential food items and vegetables.

The Indian side was reluctant to resume supplies of fuel and other essential commodities citing obstructions from Madhesh-based political parties in Nepal since last week.

There is a long waiting line of Nepal-bound cargo and trucks on the Indian side of the border waiting for security clearance.

India has built up pressure on various political stakeholders in Nepal to reach an understanding to resolve the standoff on the border as the Bihar assembly polls are nearing. No headway has been made so far in talks between the Nepal government and the agitating Madhesh based political parties over the new constitution.

Normal life in Nepal’s southern plains has been paralysed for 45 days.