KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Nepal ended months-long fuel rationing after supply from India improved, following the end of a border blockade by ethnic protesters against a new constitution, an official said on Tuesday.
Relief came as Prime Minister K.P. Oli visited India, where he met Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and cleared up differences over Nepal’s adoption of its first post-monarchy constitution last September.
Nepal adopted the charter in hope of bringing stability after years of civil war, but it upset the minority Madhesi community in the south who blocked key border crossings with India causing severe shortage of oil and cooking gas.
Protesters called off the blockade this month and allowed supply trucks stranded for more than four months to roll into the landlocked country after the government changed the constitution to provide greater political voice to the Madhesis and vowed to resolve other grievances through talks.
“We are now getting 70 percent of our normal fuel supply from India,” Nepal Oil Corporation official Dipak Baral told Reuters. “With this there is no need to restrict distribution of fuel to the public.”
India is Nepal’s sole supplier of fuel. Rationing had led to black marketeering and caused lines of motorists outside petrol stations to stretch for several kilometres.
Nepal blamed India for supporting the protesters who share close family and cultural ties with it and causing the shortage that strained ties between the South Asian neighbours.
Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Michael Perry