Three consecutive public holidays starting Saturday have affected availability of petroleum products in the market. NOC generally does not supply fuel to retailers on public holidays.
Many fuel stations were closed on Tuesday. Long queues could be seen at fuel stations which were in operation on the day. Some fuel stations brought their shutters down on Tuesday, following news reports that India was sealing its border points. Though India stopped 23 petroleum tankers from entering Nepal from Raxaul on Tuesday morning, they were allowed to enter Nepal in the afternoon.
Many fuel stations at Kaushaltar, Koteshwar, New Baneshwar, Thapathali and Sundhara remained closed throughout the day. Lilendra Pradhan, president of Nepal Petroleum Dealers Association (NPDA), said fuel shortage was of temporary nature. “Regular supply was affected due to consecutive public holidays. The situation will become normal soon as NOC has already started to distribute petroleum products,” Pradhan said. “Many fuel stations will receive supplies by Tuesday night.”
He also said many customers queued at fuel stations on Tuesday following rumors that petroleum products will be in short supply following India’s displeasure at promulgation of new constitution in Nepal. Some fuel stations have deliberately reduced supply, stating that NOC was receiving fewer supplies from India due to unrest in Tarai districts. However, NOC officials maintain that fuel supply from India has not been affected.
NOC Spokesperson Deepak Baral said fuel availability was affected due to consecutive public holidays. “We have resumed normal supply from Tuesday itself. The situation will become normal from Tuesday evening,” he added.
Baral also said there won’t be shortage of fuel even if India reduces supplies. NOC has 1,080 kiloliters (KL) of petrol, 4,000 kl of diesel and 2,700 kl of aviation fuel in stock at Thankot depot, according to Baral.
NOC supplies fuel to Kathmandu Valley from Thankot depot.