Posted by Katrina and Martin Butterworth at 12:09 on 6th February 2012
Martin writes: I’m trying to think what to write this week and sadly my head is totally preoccupied with the ongoing fuel crisis.
We’ve got around two weeks of cooking gas left, which should be fine but there seems no end to the non-availability of refills and even if gas starts coming from India it will take a while for the supply to catch up. I’ve been to the shop almost every day this week and failed to get any gas.
The gas problem isn’t just stressing me though. There is some gas, but it seems to “disappear” before ordinary people like us get any.
Apparently there’s a black market operating at very high prices, the gas suppliers are hoarding it to make the price go up more, the government is doing it on purpose to reduce its debt to India. Believe what you want but there’s still no gas.
On Wednesday a truck carrying full bottles was sighted on a road into Kathmandu and ambushed by locals. They didn’t steal the gas though; they forced the gas company representatives in the truck to sell it to them!
I’m constantly amazed at how good people are despite the awful corruption and exploitation they are subject to. Now the student unions, less good, have decided to raid petrol stations and gas shops to “release” the fuel. That’s really going to calm the situation?
Meanwhile, this week I (Katrina) had a meeting of the Student Affairs Committee (I’m Head of Student Affairs at the medical school).
It’s a forum for students to tell us what their issues are and to work together towards solving them, as well as promoting/organizing student activities.
This month for example is the Student Sports Week. Staff are also invited to participate. I’m planning to run in the “marathon”. Before I signed up I clarified the actual distance – just 5 km, so I should be able to manage that!
A different issue that came up was the safety of the path leading up to the basic science building. There is building work going on at the back of the hospital and we have to walk past to get inside.
The dirt dug up for the foundations is piled up over our path so it is a bit like scrambling to get in and out.
The students didn’t complain about this (they’re pretty agile), but some of our faculty did. Also a concern were the falling bits of concrete – workers have helmets but pedestrians don’t.
I’m passing on concerns to the appropriate authorities – let's hope they are more accountable than the people controlling gas!