Snaking lines grow as Nepal confronts fuel shortage

State Building and Fragility Monitor

In recent days, during peak tourist season in Nepal, visitors here have been confronted with a strange sight: miles of double- and triple-parked cars, buses, trucks and motorcycles along the ancient city’s avenues. The lines snarl through narrow streets and block main intersections on the ring road.

Drivers stretch out in their back seats, snoring. Others join impromptu card games on car hoods or pass the hours with their cellphones. Food vendors cook and sell water on the pavement.

The destination for all these vehicles? Gas stations. On Tuesday, after a two-week ban — imposed amid a fuel shortage stemming from unrest over Nepal’s new Constitution and a dispute with neighboring India — the government briefly allowed them to provide fuel to private vehicles. In a surreal scene that began days before the fuel was delivered, tens of thousands joined the lines.

“I came with my motorcycle two days ago,”…

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