A Couple of Strikes and a Fuel Crisis
Petrol and Diesel scarcity continued in Kathmandu today. While the Nepal Petroleum Dealers’ National Association continue their strike which i wrote about here yesterday, the petroleum transporters have started a strike of their own too. As the Himalayan Times reported:
“Petroleum crisis in Kathmandu valley has increased as petroleum transporters are protesting against the killing of their friend Amajad Devan in Barauni, India on Friday.
Agitating transporters have been demanding to declare Amajad a martyr and provide Rs 2.5 million compensation to his family.”
As the Himalayan Times report notes, only “public sector” petrol pumps were have been in operation since Sunday, and received Nepal Oil Corporation’s fuel delivery.
“Thankot depot provided 12,000 litres of petrol to pumps operated by Nepal Army and Armed Police followed by Nepal Police (8,000 litres), National Trading (6,000 litres) and Sajha (9,000 litres) on Monday.” the Times report adds.
Photos posted here are of the scenes from those waiting to get petrol and diesel from the Army operated Ripumardini Petrol Station in Bhadrakali. (Photos from the Nepal Police operated petrol station are posted here). These photos were taken around 11AM today.
Not that there is a shortage of strikes in Nepal right now (education trike affecting more than 7 millions students), a political General Strike hits Kathmandu tomorrow morning. This mean all vehicle movements will be restricted between 6AM to 5PM. As off now vehicles (almost all of which run on diesel) owned by Diplomatic missions have been given permission to operate, but that too could change if the Strike gets violent in the morning.
To search for a positive in this forced Strike that will disrupt millions of lives (something I personally disagree with), keeping hundreds of thousands of vehicles off the streets all day in a city suffering from dangerous levels of air pollution will at least do the city and its inhabitants good. That effect, however, desperately needs to come from a better plan. Increasing the country’s dependency on petroleum, appeasing bully suppliers, increasing billions in subsidies, and hoping for smooth supplies in the future, are not it.
Yesterday, I argued why Kathmandu must reduce its use of diesel generators to produce 80-100MW of electricity and how it could do it. You can read that post, also published in Republica national daily, here. As for tomorrow, like most days, I plan to commute on my bicycle.