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India resumes fuel supply to Nepal via Raxaul border

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Kathmandu: India today resumed fuel supplies to Nepal through its Raxaul border after agitating Madhesis called off their nearly five-month-long blockade that caused acute shortage of petroleum products in the landlocked nation.

Indian Oil Corporation’s Raxaul depot resumed supplies after the obstruction by protesters was removed from the main ‘Maitreyi’ (Friendship) Bridge connecting the two countries.

The depot loaded 300,000 litres of petroleum products into Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) tankers and sent them to Nepal, the Himalayan Times quoted chief of Birgunj-based Regional Office of the state-run firm Abhishek Thakur as saying.

In the wake of the agitation launched by the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), the IOC had been rerouting the supply of petroleum products through other border points.

As the demonstrations eased at the transit route from Friday, NOC appealed to IOC for uninterrupted supply of oil through the Raxaul border.

NOC Spokesperson Mukunda Ghimire said IOC has agreed to provide oil through the border. NOC has instructed fuel tankers that ply on the Raxaul-Kathmandu route to transport fuel through the route.

Of the total fuel consumption in Nepal, 70 per cent fuel is supplied through this transit route. As per IOC’s commitment, the fuel will be supplied as in the period before the blockade, local media reported.

Customs Department Director General Shishir Kumar Dhungana said 19 transit routes with India are now operational.

The supply resumed as the Madhesis, who have strong family and cultural ties with Indians, called off their protests over the new Constitution today.

The Madhesi community are opposed to the new Constitution that divides their ancestral homeland under the seven-province structure and have led an ongoing blockade of key border trade points with India for nearly five months.

The blockade had caused much hardship to the general public as they were faced with acute shortage of petroleum products, cooking gas, medicines and other essentials due to closure of all border trade points between the two countries.

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