Kathmandu: Nepal on Sunday enforced an odd-even licence plate system for plying of vehicles on alternate days and asked international airlines to refuel planes abroad amid a fuel crisis due to the blockade of a key trade checkpoint with India by protesters opposing Nepal's new Constitution.
Nepal government enforced the odd-even system for all kinds of vehicles plying in major cities from today in a bid to reduce the impact of the fuel crisis following unrest in Nepal's Terai plains that has led to the blockade of Birgunj trade checkpoint with India, cutting off vital supplies, including petroleum products.
Nepalese officials have alleged that the fuel crisis has further worsened in the country as Indian customs and security officials are stalling cargo movement to Nepal and there has been a stoppage of petroleum supply to Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) by the Indian Oil Corporation.
International airlines have also been asked to refuel their planes at airports abroad citing insufficient stocks at the NOC's Tribhuvan International Airport depot here, officials said.
"Continued obstruction at border customs points and the IOC halting supply of petroleum products have created an abnormal situation in fuel supply," a statement issued by Nepal's Home Ministry said.
Enforcing vehicle curbs, the ministry has asked the general public to ply vehicles with odd number on odd date and with even number on even days as per the Nepalese national calendar.
Indian envoy Ranjit Rae was called in by the Acting Nepalese Foreign Minister Khaga Raj last week and the issue of "obstruction" in the supply of essential goods coming in from the Indian side was raised with him.
Rae had clarified that there was no obstruction from the Indian side on the movement of goods and the problem was due to unrest, protests and demonstrations on the Nepalese side.
Indian freight forwarders and transporters have earlier voiced complaints about the difficulties they are facing in movement within Nepal and their security fears due to the prevailing unrest.
The agitating Madhesi Front claims that the Constitution does not guarantee enough rights and representation to the Madhesi and Tharu communities residing in southern Nepal.
Madhesis are Indian-origin inhabitants of the Terai plains bordering India.
At least 40 people have died in over a month of clashes between police and protesters from the Madhesi and Tharu communities and ethnic minorities who say the new internal borders leave them under-represented in the country's Parliament.