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Mohan Nepali: Oil Politics Tortures the Nepalis

Oil Politics Tortures the Nepalis

By Mohan Nepali

The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has decided to recontinue supplying petroleum products to Nepal after Nepal’s Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala met Indian ambassador to Nepal Shiva Shanker Mukharjee and requested the Indian government through him for help. The Nepalis have been going through oil crisis for several days due to the stoppage of oil supply from India. The IOC had stopped supplying oil to Nepal due to the dues of almost five billion Nepali rupees to be paid to it by the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC).

Oil prices have been increased several times in Nepal. The price hike in petroleum products has resulted in the price rise of all goods and services that move through transport system. Nepal is a country where money inflation counts terribly high with more risks for moderate earners. Daily wage earners have been forced to live under low calories of food. According to the Nepal Rastra Bank, the monetary authority, inflation has risen to 6.2 percent and the price hike in food and beverage has come up to 9.2 percent. This has put the poorest people’s life at a higher risk.

The NOC has been pressurizing the Nepal government to increase oil prices and to privatize the oil corporation while public advocates stress first on the rectification of the NOC itself and the state’s basic obligations to public life. They believe the fulfillment of state’s obligations comes before privatization because the greatest number of people live under less than a dollar per day. This situation of mass poverty demands the state guarantee for the smooth and affordable supply of goods and services to people.

At present, the Nepal government has been imposing heavy taxes on the sale of petroleum products within the country. Similarly, the corruption and commission network, ill-governance and misuse of resources existing within the NOC have been publicly raised as some common factors contributing to the price hikes of oil. The Nepal government at the request of oil profiteers increases oil prices almost every year regardless of stability in the international markets.

The Nepal government could immediately clear the dues to the IOC but has nor done so because of oil politics. Profiteers, including certain politicians, in both Nepal and India, appear to have benefited heavily from the oil crisis in both the countries.

It has been customary for Nepali officials to seek bulky commissions from privatization of national corporations. None of the privatized Nepali companies have ever fulfilled their public obligations. Nor have they functioned well so far. The big amount of illegal commission they pay to government officials during the time of privatization sets private owners free from public obligations.

While the media overage of oil crisis is going on in Nepal, media campaign for privatization is simultaneously getting intensified.

As supplying essential goods and services for human beings is not meant merely for profiteering and politicking, the world’s governments that have signed international human rights commitments must be responsible for that.

In this context, it is extremely embarrassing that Nepal’s Prime Minister has to meet and request the Indian ambassador even for running the nation. The nation cannot run smoothly without the availability of petroleum products within the nation but it does not mean that a prime minister of a sovereign country has to humble to an ambassador every time the crisis arises. This shows how free are Nepal’s top leaderships from slave-mindedness. This is the main reason why the ordinary Nepalis see the shadow of Indian dominance over Nepal’s politics.

This relationship like that of a slave and an owner will not let the Nepalis get prosperous and dignified. Therefore, they are at present on the path of political, socio-economic and cultural transformation. For this, they are determined to abolish monarchy and continue fighting the deep-rooted feudalism in their country because the foundation of slave-mindedness lies in the psychological culture of feudalism. The Nepalis want to enjoy their sovereignty in deciding what ideology to rule themselves for their best causes. Unfortunately, the Nepali Congress headed by Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and the Emalay headed by Madhav Kumar Nepal have not yet renounced their deep love for feudalism and puppetism. However, they have been uttering so-called anti-feudalism words in their speeches. But their behavioral clinging to feudalist thoughts and behavior has proved their love and sympathy for feudalism. This is the main reason why they had a secret compromise to preserve Nepal’s feudalistic monarchy even when the ordinary masses in millions were preparing to declare Nepal a republic during the April mass movement in 2006.


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