Nepal: Students to Protest Fuel Prices
Posted by hetty7 on January 30, 2012
Student protesters, including the revolutionary student group associated with the UCPN(Maoist) are planning to protest against rising fuel prices, which are partially due to companies hoarding supplies. The protests will occur outside of Nepal’s most prominent government institutions. This article is from myrepublica.
Students to raid petrol pumps, picket Singha Durbar
Kathmandu, Jan. 29: The agitating students have announced another round of protest programs, including combing petrol pumps and dealers and picketing Singha Durbar, to exert pressure on the government to completely withdraw its decision to raise fuel prices.
The government had partially reduced fuel prices Thursday buckling under pressure from the striking students after raising it on Jan 18.
But the student unions of 13 political parties, including the Maoist-affiliated All Nepal National Independent Students Union-Revolutionary (ANNISU-R), and eight youth wings have been demanding that the January 18 hike be withdrawn and the poor and students be provided 50 percent concession on kerosene and cooking gas at the rate that existed before the recent hike.
The new set of protest programs include appealing to the general public to participate in the agitation on Monday and Tuesday and submitting memorandum to the district administration offices across the country on Wednesday to raid petrol pumps and dealers.
“We know that the dealers have been creating artificial scarcity of fuel by hording. We will bring out the horded fuel from these dealers on Thursday, Friday and Saturday in presence of the administration,” said President of All Nepal National Free Students Union (ANNFSU) Navarj Paudel Madhav Dhungel.
The students have planned to protest in front of ministers’ quarters next Sunday and prevent them from entering Singha Durbar, while they have decided to end this current round of protests by picketing Singha Durbar next Monday. “We have always been open to dialogue but we will be forced to announce more stringent programs like general strike if the government does not fulfil our demands,” Dhungel added.
Minister for Commerce and Supplies Lekha Raj Bhatta welcomed the initiative of the students to check artificial shortage of fuel but expressed helplessness in further reducing fuel prices.
“I think public vehicles form just 35 per cent of the registered vehicles and the rest are private. I am baffled why the student’s don’t understand that subsidizing diesel will benefit the users of luxury diesel vehicles and rich business persons who use diesel for alternative source of power more than the common people,” Minister Bhatta said lamenting the politicization of fuel price.
Minister Bhatta said he has already submitted action plan about fuel supply to Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, FInance Minister Barshaman Pun and Maoistg CHairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal.
He revealed the short-term supply includes easing supplies by asking the finance ministry for help and making reforms in Nepal Oil Corporation in three months. The medium-term plan of two years, he said, includes development of Raxaul-Amlekhgunj pipeline and study about establishing new depots.
“We will also look for other alternatives to Indian Oil Corporation to buy fuel and also invite private sector in the sector domestically through new acts in the long term,” he said.
He also blasted the finance ministry and the bureaucracy for just aiming to boost revenue collection by levying unnecessary taxes on fuel. “They charge Rs on every liter as road tax and the bankers also have to pay taxes at different places while ferrying fuel, which is added as transportation cost on the fuel price,” he cited as an example.