Fuel Shortage: The Saga Continues

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Fuel shortage: the saga continues

Over the years, Nepal has undergone several remarkable changes in terms of socio economic and cultural aspects. Politically, it has been transformed into a democratic republic following the abolition of monarchy in 2008. Likewise, the vulnerable and downtrodden communities have been empowered to raise the voices to ensure their representation in the decision making process of the country. Further, the social fabric has also been strengthened allowing each individual to have their equal say in the affairs of the state. However, one thing that has not changed over the years is scarcity of commodities including fuel and rising inflation. These problems have become an irritant for every successive government, especially after the restoration of democracy in Nepal.

Among all the scarcities to hit the Nepalese, the shortage of petroleum products has been the severest of late. The denizens are forced to stand in long queues in the sweltering heat or chilly cold in front of the refilling stations. They impatiently wait in serpentine queues for their turn to refill. To the most chagrin, in many cases, they are compelled to return without refilling despite waiting for long.

Experts are of the view that ever increasing fuel shortage is partially due to the government inability to control the rampant corruption within the Nepal Oil Corporation. They also argue that ineffective management of NOC by the government has led to the shortage of fuel across the country. The NOC, over the years, has earned the notoriety for being an organization that bonuses its employees under several heading though it claims that it has been suffering looses

According to unconfirmed report, the NOC has been providing fuel to its employee and many other political leaders as facilities which naturally leads to pilling of loses.  In many cases, it also creates artificial shortage of fuel to serve their interest. Such malpractice needs to be monitored and regulated by the concern authority to ensure interrupted supply of fuel to its denizens who are increasingly falling victims to the inflation. 

Another major reason for the growing fuel shortage across the country on regular basis is the government’s failure to implement the measures to reduce the subsidy given to the cooking gas used for industrial or business purposes. The provision for having two cylinders- one marked blue and other red- for industrial and household use respectively has not been put into practice effectively. It is, therefore, very important to adopt all possible measures to implement the provision.

Similarly, black marketing is equally responsible for the ever increasing fuel shortage across the country the tankers and fueling station owners work hand in hand to create artificial shortage such unholy nexus should be checked and prosecuted as per the law of the land.

Needless to reiterate, it is customary in Nepal that every new government hike the prices related with petroleum products citing it as a doctrine of necessity. Soon after government decision, the students backed by the mofussil hit the street demanding the government to rollback its decision. In response, the government reduces the price by fifty percent of the total hiked amount which temporarily address the concern of the citizen. However, there is a dire need to find the permanent solution of such recurring problem.  

There is no denying that the government has a major task at hand to reduce the ever-rising shortage of fuel in the nation. The cardinal objective of the incumbent government is to control the ever increasing inflation and acute shortage of fuel across the country. However this is only possible when government attract the private entrepreneurs in the petroleum sector so that the nation can be rid of the losses, partially due to mismanagement of the state-owned oil monopoly.

Given the existing situation attributed by political anarchy and uncertainty, it appears that no government is honest about introducing corrective measures in the NOC because it is one of the few organizations in the nation offering considerable largesse to many of the leaders, bureaucrats and others. The NOC is a milking cow, and many of them would want to see it run as it is now.

Lets hope that the present government led by octogenarian Sushil Koirala comes up with the permanent solution of the problem for once and all.


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