Wed, Aug 23, 2006 - Page 4 News List

Gasoline stations refuse to sell in Nepali capital

AP , KATHMANDU

Filling stations refused to sell fuel to consumers in Nepal yesterday in a protest to demand government compensation for losses due to recent fluctuations in the officially set prices.

The government boosted prices for gasoline, diesel and cooking oil by up to 25 percent last Friday but withdrew the hikes on Sunday later following a weekend of violent protests.

Fuel station owners bought fuel at the higher prices over the weekend and now are being compelled to sell at a loss, said Shiva Prasad Ghimire of the Nepal Petroleum Dealers Association.

The retail price of gasoline, for example, went up 25 percent to 84.25 rupees (US$1.20) a liter, before going back down to 67 rupees.

Also, some fuel stations were vandalized during the protests, and the owners want compensation for the damages because the government's decision began the trouble, Ghimire said.

Privately owned fuel stations in the capital Kathmandu on yesterday hung ``No gasoline, no diesel'' signs outside. The few government-run stations that were open had hundreds of cars lined up in front.

The state-owned Nepal Oil Corp said it had invited private retailers to come for negotiations to end the stalemate. The government had announced the price hikes on Friday to keep the company from collapsing.

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