September 26, Kathmandu
The blockade imposed by Indian authorities on freight movements in the Nepal-India border has started to affect Nepalese economy. Since Nepal promulgated the new constituion last week, India has been tightening security at the borders citing violence and unresolved issues in the Terai region of Nepal.
As Indian customs authorities further “tighten the security” for cargo movements and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) completely stops exporting fuel, Nepal is forced to depend on the stocks it has. The fuel crisis aggravated on Saturday, forcing the Nepalese government to adopt an odd/even rule on vehicular movements from Sunday.
Nepal Government’s press release on September 26 for maximizing the stock of fuel
Photo Document Source: Home Ministry, Government of Nepal
In a press release issued by the Home Ministry of Nepal today, it has requested vehicle owners to run vehicles with odd registration number in odd number dates, and even on even number dates. Nepal uses the Bikram Sambat (B.S.) as its official calendar with the first day of this plying on Aswin 10, 2072 (September 27, 2015). In accordance to this rule, vehicles ending in even numbers should only be run tomorrow.
This rule, however, does not affect vehicles that provide emergency services—ambulance, police cars, fire trucks and vehicles of similar nature. With this move, the government expects to best utilize the stock of fuel Nepal currently has. Speaking to The Kathmandu Post, Laxmi Prasad Dhakal from Home Ministry said, “We expect to reduce the consumption of fuel by 50 percent”.
Airlines asked to fill up less fuel
The dwindling stock of Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), the sole international airport in Nepal, has forced airlines to cut the amount of fuel it refills at Kathmandu. In turn, the duration of holding patterns required for aircrafts coming in to land at TIA will also be reduced to save more fuel.
A domestic carrier landing at Kathmandu airport
Photo by Suramya Khanal
Airlines operating less than two-hour flights to Nepal have been asked to carry return fuel or cut refueling by 50 percent. This affects flights from immediate neighboring countries like India, Bhutan and Lhasa in China.
Similarly, gulf carriers from Qatar, Oman and UAE have been urged to refill 15 to 20 percent less at TIA. Domestic airlines have been asked to fill up their tanks at other airports in Nepal. Meanwhile, the government also has immediate plans to ask Chinese government for the supply of fuel through military transport aircrafts.
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