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Gas crisis reaches its peak

KATHMANDU, FEB 01 With Roshan Sedhai
Many small hotels and tea shops have downed shutters owing to the acute shortage of cooking gas persisting in the Capital for a long time.

Small hoteliers say they haven’t sold food items for several days. The government failure to import enough gas has hit hard the Capital city, home to around 3 million people.

Kedar Aryal, owner of a Tinkune-based small hotel, said his shop has remained shut for the past three days. Worst, he said, “My family could not eat cooked food for two days”.

“The shortage of gas has forced us to close the shop. We ran from pillar to post in search of gas, but to no avail. Little respite came in after I have borrowed a cylinder with half gas from one of my friends for our household purpose,” said Aryal.

Bikash Lama runs a shop adjacent to Aryal’s hotel, who is facing no less severe problem. “I closed my shop for five days,” he said. Taking a pity

on Lama’s plight, one of his friends came to his rescue and provided the stock he had.

Amid gas shortage, people are living on dry food. Surkchhaya Lama, 8-year-old daughter of Lama, said she ate noodle for five consecutive days. “I went to school with half empty stomach for all those days.” “Noodle was the only alternative,” said lama, who studies at Good Shepherd School at Koteshwor.

On the other hand, the unavailability of cooking gas has forced renters to throng hotels for even main courses. Hoteliers say they are having tough time meeting the demand of customers. “We have removed the items that consume more gas,” said Kamal Maharjan, who runs a restaurant at Tahachal.

Furious shop owners told the Post if it was actually “new Nepal”. “We had expected a lot from this government but it turned out to be the worst. We never expected this. Our expectation is broken,” said Parbati Aryal.

Officials of the Nepal Oil Corporation say the gas shortage has worsened with the Indian Oil Corporation cutting deliveries of LPG due to a crude oil shortage at its refinery. The monthly requirement of cooking gas in the country is 20,000 tonnes while the demand soars to 25,000 tonnes during the winter. Gas dealers say they have received only 7,000 tonnes of LPG as of January 24, far below than requirement.

Published in The Kathmandu Post

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