Mass Protests Lead Nepal to Rescind Fuel Price Hikes
The government withdrew increases in gasoline, diesel and cooking fuel prices Sunday after thousands of protesters clashed with police, blocked traffic and vandalized government vehicles.
Nepal’s government had raised prices Saturday to reduce losses for the state-owned monopoly distributor Nepal Oil Corp., which owes $213 million to the Indian Oil Corp.
Police used truncheons to beat protesters who gathered at three locations Sunday in Katmandu. At least half a dozen government motorcycles and cars were torched by demonstrators. Protesting drivers also blocked the main route to Katmandu, cutting off most transportation to the capital city.
The retail price of gasoline had been raised 25% to $4.54 per gallon, and diesel was increased by 11% to $3.03 per gallon. Kerosene was raised 24% to $3.03 per gallon.
The higher diesel price was expected to increase prices for food and other commodities because trucks are the only practical means of transporting them in the landlocked, mountainous Himalayan nation.