As I was travelling to work I saw a lady carrying two huge plastic bags and waiting for a public transport to get to her destination. I was wondering if we were going on the same route and I could drop her off. As I was about to ask her on where she was going, she showed her thumb asking for a lift. I stopped and she told me she was headed to Chabahil, while I was off to Durbar Marq. Since she was waiting for a vehicle since the longest time she hopped on to the bike and asked me to drop her to the junction which was the same road for both of us. In the 5 minute ride we spoke about the crisis situation, and how it is affecting each family in Nepal and how hard has it become to stay alive. This is not just her story but every other citizen in Nepal is being affected on some or the other level.
For the ones who do not know what is happening in Nepal, we are going through the unofficial blockade which has been running for the third month now. The blockade has caused supply shortages of fuel, gas, medicines and much more. The prices have increased on an enormous rate and the inflation has gone up to a much higher note. As the winter season has begun, it has become worse on families who are not able to meet the increase rate on the gas cylinders and neither able to afford induction heaters. Though, majority of families have purchased induction heaters on the highest price, they have not been able to use them completely because of the electricity schedule. During situations, where people are not being able to pay for induction heaters, they have been eating one meal a day to save up on the usage of gas. The gas prices have gone four times and there are many who are ready to pay that amount and that too is short of supply. The lines of gas cylinders can be seen in every other lane and they are chained with one another to maintain the queue. Individuals have marked their cylinders and some have been waiting for hours in line with the hope of getting a filled gas cylinder.
To add to the whole misery, the load shedding is running for ten hours a day. Preparing a meal has become extremely tough when a gas cylinder is empty, and there is no electricity. There are areas where the electric transformers have exploded because the load of appliances could not be taken, making the whole vicinity dark for couple of days.
We are a very compromising and adjusting lot, but isn’t it too much?? How long are we going to challenge ourselves to manage another day for the basic necessities of life?? Hasn’t the everyday schedule already become tricky?? What about the people, who have been earning through their daily wages, how will they match the rate of inflation?? We cannot begin to imagine how the villagers are surpassing the cold when the capital of the country is freezing?? Aren’t we going back to primitive era while the other side of the world is on advancement??
These are the everyday discussions and talks that happen in each locality and community. Each one of us has crossed the level of tolerance and has no idea on how worse can it get. As much as many of us are not encouraging black marketing, we have become bound to purchase and accept that the solution to the situation is buying products in five times the original rate. The level of traffic in the city states clearly how people have been buying fuel in black, the prices which have varied madly in past few months.
The government has definitely not maintained its role and the system is haywire. Families are cooking meals on wood which has increased indoor pollution and the “less greener place” is moving towards no green. Irrespective of that there are some who have been making the most of the situation by getting in to the black business, but let us warn them, that because of them there are families who have not been able to cook meals and feed their children.
Every sector is badly hit, factories are shut, hospitals are going through rough phase, airline frequency has reduced, the hotel industry has low business and is not being able to give services, the schools are hardly open and people are being fired from their jobs. Waiting in line for minimum of ten hours for petrol near the petrol pump is common and so is lining up near the nearest store for a gas cylinder. Locals have no option other than sitting on the roof of the buses to reach their destination and the public vehicles are running double the occupancy. Petrol is freely available everywhere except the petrol pumps and the realization that every other vehicle on road is running through black petrol has become guilt free. There are disturbances in the border, with almost fifty people who have lost their lives in the protests till date. The scenario is worsening and if not taken care of, this crisis will surely push millions to poverty.