Motorbikes queuing outside a fuel station in Narayangadh on Tuesday. | Photo: Sabita Shrestha/Republica
CHITWAN, Oct 25: Ramesh Sapkota of Tandi in Ratnanagar Municipality on Tuesday wandered from one place to another in search of petrol. After having his meal in the morning, Ramesh was preparing to go to Gorkha along with his wife and children to put Tika from his in-laws.
"I went to Ramnagar and Narayangadh searching for petrol but could not find it anywhere," he said.
The petrol that he had purchased before Dashain ran out of stock. While leaving home, he had no idea that it will be so challenging for him to find petrol. There are more than ten fuel stations between his home and Ramnagar but none of them had petrol.
"At last, we decided to return home. We thought it was better to return than to get stranded in the middle of nowhere," he said.
Though Dashain holidays have ended, most of the fuel stations in Chitwan do not have petrol. However, some of them have been distributing diesel. On Tuesday, Kailash Oil Distributors in Pulchowk of Narayangadh was found distributing diesel. Lots of cars and motorbikes reached the fuel station expecting to get petrol for their vehicles but returned empty-handed.
Shortage of petrol has prevented people from reaching their destinations, especially those who want to return after celebrating Dashain. Bikash Gurung of Rampur had reached a fuel station holding a bottle of mineral water returned with the same empty bottle. His motorbike had stopped on the way after running out of petrol.
As per the locals, the responsible authorities should have kept petrol in stock to use after Dahain. Ishwori Bhattarai, chairperson of Petroleum Dealers Association, Chitwan stated that it has not been possible to distribute petrol to all stations due to Dashain holidays. Nepal Oil Corporation started distributing petrol since Sunday but Chitwan wasn't supplied with petrol as of Monday.
However, on Tuesday, five tankers supplied petrol to Chitwan to the relief of the locals.
"Vehicles have started plying the roads as Dashain vacation is over," said Bhattarai, adding, "But the NOC has only prioritized Kathmandu and Pokhara after hearing repeated complaints of scarcity of petrol."
This problem is however expected to ease within the next two days. There are altogether 54 fuel stations in Chitwan.