Nepal team to discuss fuel supply with India

Kathmandu, Oct 9 (IANS) The Nepal government on Friday formed a dialogue team to hold talks with India to ease the supply of petroleum products and prompt the end of a fortnight-long fuel blockade.

The team was formed under the leadership of Nepalese Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey, Xinhua news agency reported.

The government’s decision comes after two weeks of acute shortage of daily essential goods and fuel following blockading of customs entry points along the 1,751-km border with India by residents of the southern Nepali Terai plains protesting the newly adopted constitution — The new charter, they claim, ignores their rights and reduces their representation in the country’s legislature.

The popular notion in Nepal is that India has imposed an undeclared blockade of the landlocked Himalayan nation — and this theory is buttressed by the government as well as other major political parties

However, India has denied there was any embargo on Nepal and pointed to the lack of security for Indian transporters in agitation-riven Nepal for the lack of movement of essential supplies, including fuel.

Nepal imports petroleum products only from India since 1975.

Following the cabinet meeting which took the decision for the formation of the dialogue team, spokesperson Minendra Rijal said the government has also formed a study team to find ways of developing fuel alternatives.

On Thursday, Nepal had called bids from national and international fuel suppliers to supply fuel on land or by air.

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