| June 27, 2019

Fuel black-marketing continues in Siraha

Mithilesh Yadav/Republica A motorcyclist purchasing fuel in water bottles from smugglers in Lahan in Siraha on Saturday. Mithilesh Yadav/Republica A motorcyclist purchasing fuel in water bottles from smugglers in Lahan in Siraha on Saturday.
LAHAN, March 28: Selling of fuel in black market, which began with the unofficial blockade imposed by India, is still rampant in Siraha district.

Arjun Thapaliya, a local of Golbazaar municipality, started using motorbike to reach Lahan since the last four days.
Although he reconciled with the fact that he had to buy fuel for his bike in the black market during the protests, he is baffled at having to do so even after things have calmed down.

"Although markets are open now, the petrol pumps in Golbazaar are hardly open," he said. According to him, all petrol pumps across the district, including Lahan, stay closed on most days.

The petrol pumps that are shut during the day time open at night. Similar is the situation with petrol pumps in other parts of the district, including Lahan and Choharba, according to him.

When the petrol pumps are closed during day time, tea stalls and grocery shops sell fuel at higher prices, Thapaliya added. A liter of petrol costs Rs 140 when purchased outside petrol pumps.

The petrol pumps stay open at night solely for engaging in black-marketing, a Golbazaar local told Republica. Smuggling of fuel from night bus counters is on the rise, according to locals. They blamed the local administration for turning a blind eye to the practice of selling fuel at higher prices at night, according to locals.

The unabated smuggling and black-marketing of fuel have hit the livelihood and it has also violated consumer rights. Local consumers are demanding action against those involved in black-marketeering.

On Sunday, Ganesh Sah, a local journalist, told DSP Raj Kumar KC of the Area Police Office (APO), Lahan that not a single petrol pump from Golbazaar to Lahan along the East-West Highway was open. "I had to walk the motorbike for a kilometer after it ran out of fuel," he complained to the APO.

Likewise, black-marketing of LPG is also rampant in the market. Whenever dealers receive the cooking gas cylinders from industries, they sell them to consumers through middlemen, Gajendra Yadav, a local, said.

Interestingly, Lahan's DSP KC expressed ignorance about the ongoing black-marketing and smuggling of fuel. "I don't know about any ongoing black-marketing in fuel. We'll try to find out if there's any," he said.

Chief District Officer (CDO) Bijay Narayan Manandhar on the other hand said that the local administration was working to curb black marketeering.

"We don't have enough human resource to control black marketing," said Manandhar.