KATHMANDU, Feb 13: Bowing to violent protests by students, the government has withheld its decision on a price hike for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and introduction of a dual color system for LPG cylinders from Wednesday.
With the government retreat, the decision to hike the price of LPG by Rs 630 per cylinder has been differed for an indefinite period.
With permission from the government, the board of directors of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) - the state-owned petroleum monopolist - had decided on Tuesday to hike the price of LPG to Rs 2,100 per cylinder and introduce a dual pricing and dual color scheme for cylinders for household and commercial uses.
“Our board meeting held today decided to withheld implemention of the earlier decision. So, LPG will be available at Rs 1,470 per cylinder as before until a further decision,” said Suresh Agrawal, acting executive director of NOC.
Earlier, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai had announced that the dual pricing system for LPG was being withheld, citing lack of necessary preparations.
Students stage protest at Minbhawan. (Photo: Dipesh Shrestha)
Eleven agitating student bodies withdrew their protests after the government announced withholding of the decision.
“We withdrew our protest after the government announced it was withhelding the decision to implement the dual pricing system, which is not only against the interest of the poor but also impractical for implementation,” Ghana Shyam Neupane, general secretary of the student union affiliated to the Rastriya Janamorcha, told Republica.
In order to implement its earlier decision, the government was preparing to provide 12 LPG cylinders per household per year and four cylinders per student per year at a subsidized rate of Rs 1,550 per cylinder.
Cylinders for household and industrial uses were set to be in red and blue colors respectively.
CARTOON: RABIN SAYAMI
Objecting strongly to the government decision, students had taken to the streets in the capital, bringing vehicular movement to a standstill from early morning till late afternoon.
The students obstructed traffic by burning tyres at major points in the capital such as Sohrakutte, Lainchaur, Balaju, Gangabu, Basundhara, Kalimati, Baudha, Baluwatar, Thapathali, Gaushala, Dillibazar, Kalimati and Kalanki to exert pressure on the government to roll back its decision.