|Nepalese queue for petrol at a gas station in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. Nepal ended five months of fuel rationing on Tuesday after persuading protesters to end a border blockade that cut supplies of oil and other goods to the Himalayan nation. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)|
KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Rationing and sales restrictions on fuel were lifted in Nepal on Tuesday for the first time in five months after ethnic protests and border blockades cut oil supplies into the Himalayan nation.
Deepak Baral of the state-owned Nepal Oil Corp, which has a monopoly on importing and supplying oil in Nepal, said drivers will be able to buy as much fuel as they want from Tuesday.
"The lifting of the rationing of fuel should end long lines at service stations and end difficulties for consumers," Baral said.
Nepal Oil Corp is now receiving regular supplies of diesel, gasoline, kerosene, aviation fuel and cooking gas from Indian Oil Corp, which supplies all the oil products to Nepal. Baral said although the supply was equal to about 70 percent of the actual demand they now had enough to ease the sales restrictions.
The supplies from India had been restricted since ethnic Madhesis protesting against a new constitution began blocking major border points. India with close ties to the Madhesis also restricted supplies to Nepal, strains between the neighbors.
Nepalese prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli is in India right now and leaders from both sides say they cleared up the misunderstandings between the countries.
The blockade ended earlier this month and fuel trucks have been able to enter Nepal without any problems.
Nepa's Constituent Assembly adopted a constitution in September after years of delay and despite protests of unfairness.
Ethnic Madhesis in south Nepal say the constitution does not give them enough government representation and local autonomy.