Monday, 8 February 2016

Random Jottings Asia 2016 - Nepal Fuel Crisis January 2016

The Fuel Crisis, What crisis?

To the casual visitor life looks relatively normal - traffic, pollution and noisy dogs. The city functions though thanks in part to black market racketeering and here's why. A group of ethnic minorities are a bit peeved that they have been underrepresented a recently revised set of laws and rules - the constitution. Their protesting is often violent and includes a blockade of the important trade routes from India and there is a widespread perception that the Indian authorities are in support. This of course has opened up huge opportunities for smuggling with corruption rife among those who control the strings - according to the press anyway!

Here in the tourist hub of Pokhara there seems to be little effect for visitors. A few less menu choices, but that's really for those who try to maintain their Western diets. From a local perspective the Nepalis are able to maintain their normal eating habits - its just that they have to cook on wood instead of gas. Food stocks are normal, theirs plenty of homegrown stuff to supply the nation, and me!

Surprisingly price inflation is running at just 5pc - bus to downtown about 3p more and some price hikes on Western items like the strong coffee and pastries about 20p more than 6 months ago.

Everywhere there are piles of wood, now the essential raw material to sustain life around here, especially for those who don't have the means to pay the racketeers, but actually I'd say the food is even better cooked on an open fire!











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