Motorists still have a hard time filling their tanks

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Feb 25, 2016-

The government has declared that gasoline will be available in any quantity, but frustrated motorists in the Kathmandu Valley are asking, “Where?”

Despite the official announcement that the quota system has been scrapped and fuel supplies have increased, motorists still have a hard time filling their tanks. People can be seen waiting for hours in long queues in front of gasoline stations.

Rupesh Adhikari of Lazimpat, waiting in line at Goma Ganesh Petrol Pump, Gairidhara on Wednesday, said that this was the third time he had joined a queue to buy gasoline. He had to return empty-handed on the previous two days.

“After standing in the queue for hours, we had to return empty-handed after the pump said that it had run out of stock,” he said.

The Supply Ministry announced that the quota system had been scrapped since Monday following the end of the trade embargo by India when supplies ran short and fuel had to be rationed.

Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) said that it had increased petrol distribution to 450 kilolitres daily compared to the usual demand of 350 kilolitres. Similarly, the state-owned oil monopoly said that it had been issuing 500 kilolitres of diesel daily compared to the usual demand of 450 kilolitres.

Lilendra Prasad Pradhan, president of the Petroleum Dealers’ Association, said the situation would return to normal by next week. “Due to the increased supply, the rush has eased and demand has gone down by 50 percent compared to last week,” said Pradhan, adding that motorist queues had been shortened by half.

Pradhan said that NOC should increase the petrol supply to 600 kilolitres daily and provide fuel on public holidays too. “If the corporation does that, things will return to normal soon.”

According to the association, NOC provides 25 percent of the total supply to pumps owned by Sajha and the security forces. The rest is distributed among private petrol pumps. There are 125 gasoline stations in the valley, 113 of which are privately owned. 

Rabin Koirala, a microbus driver, said the supply had increased compared to last week. “Previously, we had to wait in line for a day to receive fuel. Now, there are only a few vehicles in the queue,” he said.

Pradhan said they were facing problems in diesel distribution as many companies were stocking up on fuel by buying hundreds of litres in drums and jerry cans. 

“The corporation will be providing only up to 200 litres of diesel through five petrol pumps alternately on a daily basis to provide them fuel in vessels,” Pradhan said. “This is expected to ease diesel distribution too,” he added.

Published: 25-02-2016 09:29

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