No petrol for private vehicles in Nepal amid protests

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Owners of private vehicles in Nepal can no longer buy petrol, the government said Thursday, as a fuel shortage provoked by protests in the south of the country worsened.

The restrictions began Thursday as the country grappled with protests that have led to the closure of its border with India, from where Nepal imports almost all of its fuel.

The Interior Ministry said that only public vehicles would be given fuel for the next few days, until more supplies became available.

Plane travel has also been affected.

China Southern Airlines became the first airline to cancel its flights to Kathmandu, for two weeks.

“Others haven’t cancelled flights yet, but have either started getting wide-bodied craft instead of narrow, while some flights have merged their flights to ensure they are still in operation,” said Ram Kumar Raya, the chief of Terminal Management Division at the Tribhuvan International Airport.

Earlier this week, Nepalese authorities asked international flights to re-fuel elsewhere before arriving.

The fuel crunch comes ahead of the Hindu festival of Dashain, during which Nepalis travel to their home towns to be with their family.

Indian authorities closed the border to goods and fuel trucks six days ago, citing security concerns about the violent anti-constitution protests that have hit southern Nepal during the past month.

Protests in the southern plains against the federal structure outlined in the recently adopted constitution have killed at least 47 people.

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