- Title: NEPAL: Nepal rolls back oil price rise after protests
- Date: 21st August 2006
- Summary: SLATE INFORMATION
- Embargoed: 5th September 2006 13:00
- Location: Nepal
- Country: Nepal
- Topics: Economic News,Energy
- Reuters ID: LVACI92NZ6BLL098C9HOJCZWC89H
- Story Text: Nepal's multi-party government reversed an increase in fuel prices on Sunday (August 20), bowing to angry protests that had paralysed the capital for two days, a minister said.
Activists had torched dozens of vehicles, burned tyres, stopped traffic and forced businesses to close in the city following Friday's (August 18) move to raise prices by up to 38 percent.
"We will keep this movement going until the hiked price is rolled back by this government who is under pressure by the force of people's movement," protester Lekh Nath Neupane said before the government's announcement.
After an emergency meeting on Sunday, Physical Planning and Works Minister Gopal Man Shrestha was quoted as saying: "We have withdrawn the increase in oil prices in view of the current situation...The decision will come into force immediately."
The interim government, formed after King Gyanendra restored democracy in April, had brought in the rise saying it needed to cut the losses of the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), the state-owned oil importing monopoly.
NOC owes about $120 million U.S. dollars to India, the sole fuel supplier to the landlocked Himalayan nation.
Critics said higher fuel prices would increase transport costs for food and other commodities in the mountainous nation.
The cabinet set up a three-member panel to study the financial condition of the state oil firm and suggest measures to reduce losses, Shrestha said.
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