November 1, 2015
The first tankers carrying gasoline from China have arrived in Nepal after India restricted fuel convoys as a result of political protests in the Himalayan nation.
“Three tankers of the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) brought 9,000 liters of petrol each," Deputy Superintendent of the Nepal Police Abdesh Bista told Xinhua.
Another nine left for China yesterday and were expected to return with fuel later in the day.
Spokesperson for NOC Deepak Baral told reporters in Rasuwa that, of 1,000 metric tons of petrol granted by China, Nepal will collect the remaining fuel within a week.
Although the tankers have the capacity to carry 12,000 litres of gasoline each, they were only filled with 9,000 litres because of road conditions in the mountainous terrain, he added.
China is giving Nepal 1.3 million litres of gasoline to help it deal with a severe fuel crisis caused by an Indian blockade.
Nepal also entered into an unprecedented agreement with China last week for the commercial import of a third of Nepal's fuel demand, ending more than four decades of supply monopoly by India, after supplies from the country did not improve despite repeated diplomatic efforts.
"The Nepalese government plans to purchase one third of its total demand for petroleum products from China in the coming days," Mahesh Maskey, the country's ambassador to China, told Xinhua Saturday evening."We will soon finalize the technical modalities," he said.
Despite sporadic instances of some fuel trickling into Nepal, India has effectively blockaded the Himalayan nation since September 20 leading to crippling shortages of gasoline, diesel, cooking gas, and aviation fuel.
The blockade started when Nepal adopted a new constitution, ignoring India's wishes that the adoption be postponed to address the demands of protesting Madhesi people who have cultural, linguistic and social ties with India.
India denies it has blockaded Nepal and has blamed anti-constitution protests by Madhesis for the obstruction.
a bridge preventing trucks from moving in, to other crossings, where traffic is flowing more smoothly. Still, only a third of the regular supply has been reinstated, Indian and Nepalese officials say.