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After much troubleshooting and debugging, I have learnt a lot (like how to use pdb) and have solved the problem.

stevedore 1.0.0 (and a bunch of other packages) use the newer dist-info rather than egg-info to hold the metadata about the package. The version of that I had only looks for egg-info directories and so it collected no metadata about the installed version of stevedore, hence it exited as it could not identify the installed package to be >= 0.14. is part of the setuptools package. I had v0.6c11 of setuptools. I ran

sudo pip install --upgrade setuptools

setuptools is now at v6.1 and it runs fine