KATHMANDU, Dec 6: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa has said the government was taking initiative for diversifying fuel trades with various countries, including China and Bangladesh, drawing a lesson from the ongoing supply crisis.
Thapa argued that Nepal's policy to depend entirely on a single company and a single country for the supply of fuel was a mistake and that the government has already started the homework to end the practice.
"The government is working seriously to import fuel from China. Technical aspects are being studied to import 33 percent of the fuel from the northern neighbor," Thapa told at a meeting of Parliament's Social Justice and Human Rights Committee on Sunday.
According to him, the government is also taking initiatives to import fuel from other countries, including Bangladesh. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh herself has shown personal interest to support us and initiatives have been taken under her own leadership. "Bangladesh has already kept its door open for us and concerned officials from the country have already visited the country for the same purpose," said Thapa.
Some other countries including Kuwait, Russia and Pakistan have also expressed willingness to support Nepal in this hour of crisis, he said.
Thapa claimed that the issues of blockade, the crisis and the hardship faced by Nepali people have been properly and effectively internationalized in the United Nations and various other international forums.
While briefing about his recent two India visits, Thapa said that he had strongly raised the government's concerns before the Indian authorities against the blockade.
He said, during his first visit, the Indian leadership had assured him of easing the supply by rerouting the trucks stuck at Birgunj-Raxaul border point to other check points.
But, he said, the promise of the Indian government turned out to be a mere lip service.
"During my second visit, I gave them the evidences that there was no improvement in supply as pledged by the Indian authorities," he said.
Thapa said that, although India has been stopping trucks citing security reasons, vehicles have been stopped even at the border points where there are no security problems.
"If they can allow 30 vehicles from safer routes, why can't they let in 300?" he asked. "Mainly, vehicles carrying fuels are stopped."
According to Thapa, India's tactics is to show to the international community that it hasn't been blocking the supplies to Nepal while piling pressure on Nepal government by creating shortage in the market simultaneously.
Published on: My Republica (December 6, 2015)