Fuel crisis grips Nepal as border crossings close

Nepal faces severe shortages in essential supplies including petrol, diesel, kerosene, aviation fuel and cooking gas.

Omar Havana | | Politics, Asia, Nepal, India, Energy

Nepal, a landlocked country that heavily depends on border trade with India for supplies, is facing severe shortages in essential supplies including petrol, diesel, kerosene, aviation fuel, and cooking gas.

Border crossings between Nepal and India have essentially been closed due to what the Nepali government is calling a blockade by the Indian government. India, however, denies the blockade and argues that the disruption in border trade is due to “unrest, protests and demonstrations” in Nepal following the promulgation of a new constitution on September 20.

In order to address the shortages, the Nepali government is only allowing people to drive on alternate days and has asked people to use charcoal and firewood for cooking. Efforts are also underway to reopen trading routes with China, which were blocked by landslides after the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25.

 Related: Nepali minority group blocks India-Nepal trade route

Anti-India protests also erupted in the capital, Kathmandu, on Monday, during which demonstrators accused the country of meddling in Nepal’s internal affairs and of imposing this economic blockade as a result of India’s alleged unhappiness with the new constitution.

The Nepal Oil Corporation announced on Tuesday that it would stop allowing international flights to refuel in Kathmandu's airport, leading some international carriers to start cancelling flights to Nepal.

Follow Omar Havana on Twitter: @OmarHavana


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