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Nepal: Token system in wake of fuel shortage

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source: onenewspage.us

By NewsGram Staff Writer

Kathmandu: The Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) on Sunday was thinking of introducing a token system for distribution of petroleum products to consumers, as the nation is reeling under a severe shortage of fuel and other essential items in the wake of an alleged undeclared blockade from the Indian side.

With fuel stocks running low, the Nepal government has begun implementing the odd-even transportation system from Sunday for all types of vehicles, except those used for essential supplies. It means vehicles with odd registration numbers can ply on odd dates of the month while those with even plate numbers can operate on even dates.

International airlines too have been asked to refuel planes abroad due to insufficient stocks at the Nepal Oil Corporation’s depot at Tribhuvan International Airport here.

State-run petroleum stations have been rationing fuel to transporters, forcing people to form long queues in front of petrol stations run by the army and police.

Only three oil tankers left India for Nepal on Sunday from Jamuniha entry point of Nepal-India border in Banke district, apart from two truckloads of potato and one of tomato. Officials said India was allowing only those essential items and food that could rot if left stranded.

Nepal’s ministry of foreign affairs on Sunday expressed concern over the obstruction in border trade and unnecessary delay in the movement and clearance of Nepal-bound cargo vehicles on the Indian side of the border.

In a statement, the ministry said the delay had led to a significant decline in the flow of essential goods into the Himalayan nation, adding that the supply of essentials had witnessed a reduction since September 23 despite the fact that the security situation in Terai region had remained the same or even improved gradually.

The Nepal LP Gas Industries Association said none of the refuelling plants had any cooking gas stock due to an “embargo” imposed by India.

The diplomatic and political standoff continues for the past four days as India expressed reservation over some provision of the new constitution promulgated in the Himalayan country on September 20.

While Nepal politicians have been accusing India of imposing an unofficial embargo, New Delhi has expressed concern over the situation in Nepal’s southern plains, adding that India had not imposed any embargo and difficulties faced by vehicles in crossing the India-Nepal border were due to the unrest in the Himlayan nation.

Meanwhile, reports in Nepali media said sections of student organisations had urged local cable operators not to broadcast Indian TV channels. Student organisations in Chitwan districts have banned broadcast of Indian channels to protest against Indian “highhandedness”.

A breakaway faction of Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), led by Netra Bikram Chand, said his party would ban Indian movies, Indian vehicles and TV channels within Nepali territory.

Some Nepali parties staged a protest in front of the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu against the alleged undeclared embargo by India.

 

(With inputs from IANS)

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9 Climbers Pulled From Snow After A Sudden Storm On Mount Gurja, Nepal

Mountaineering experts are questioning how the experienced team was so badly hit at their base camp at 3,500 meters.

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Mount Gurja
Tourists take pictures at Sarangkot in Pokhara, with the view of the Mount Annapurna range in the background, some 200 km (124 miles) west of Kathmandu, Nov. 30, 2008. Annapurna, at 8,091 meters high, is the 10th highest mountain in the world.. VOA

A rescue team Sunday began retrieving the bodies of nine climbers killed in a violent storm on Nepal’s Mount Gurja, a freak accident that has left the mountaineering community reeling.

A helicopter dropped four mountain guides at the camp where the South Korean climbing expedition was staying when powerful winds and snow swept through, killing the entire team and scattering their bodies as far as 500 meters (yards) away.

“All nine bodies have been found and the team are in the process of bringing them down,” said Siddartha Gurung, a chopper pilot who is coordinating the retrieval mission.

Mount Gurja
A helicopter dropped four mountain guides at the camp.

A second helicopter along with a team of rescue specialists and villagers were also involved in the mission, which has been hampered by strong winds as well as the camp’s remoteness in the Dhaulagiri mountain range of Nepal’s Annapurna region.

The bodies of the climbers, five South Koreans and four Nepalis, will be flown to Pokhara, a tourist hub that serves as a gateway to the Annapurna region, and then to Kathmandu, said Yogesh Sapkota of Simrik Air, a helicopter company involved in the effort.

‘Like a bomb went off’

The expedition’s camp was destroyed by the powerful storm, which hit the area late Thursday or Friday, flattening all the tents and leaving a tangled mess of tarpaulin and broken polls.

“Base camp looks like a bomb went off,” said Dan Richards of Global Rescue, a U.S.-based emergency assistance group that will be helping with the retrieval effort.

Mount Gurja
Wangchu Sherpa of Trekking Camp Nepal, organised the expedition

The expedition was led by experienced South Korean climber Kim Chang-ho, who has climbed the world’s 14 highest mountains without using supplemental oxygen.

Experts puzzled

Mountaineering experts are questioning how the experienced team was so badly hit at their base camp at 3,500 meters.

Also Read: Nepal Saves Its Tiger Population, Doubles It

“At this point we don’t understand how this happened. You don’t usually get those sorts of extreme winds at that altitude and base camps are normally chosen because they are safe places,” Richards said.

The team had been on 7,193-meter (23,599-foot) Mount Gurja since early October, hoping to scale the rarely climbed mountain via a new route. (VOA)