HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: A shortage of petroleum products looms large over the country as the sole supplier Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has failed to clear its dues to Indian Oil Corporation (IOC).
President of Nepal Petroleum Dealers’ National Association (NPDNA) Lilendra Prasad Pradhan said that the general public will face acute shortage of petroleum products due to the massive cut in fuel supply by the corporation.
Almost all depots of Nepal Oil Corporation have been drying up since the state-owned oil company has failed to manage cash to import more fuel from India, he said.
Figures show that fuel supply has dropped by around 70 per cent of the total demand, he claimed. “Dealers cannot distribute fuel from tomorrow and long queues of vehicles will be seen at petrol stations throughout the country due to the imbalance in demand and supply.”
“NOC has not been able to buy enough fuel from India to make up for the shortfall and meet the country’s need due to frequent losses,” said spokesperson of NOC Mukunda Prasad Dhungel.
According to the corporation, it owed IOC nearly IRs 1.79 billion till today, out of which it cleared IRs 1.53 billion today, said Dhungel. “There will be no respite since IOC will send another bill worth IRs 2.63 billion for regular payment on June 8,” he said, adding that NOC will then have a burden of IRs 2.87.
However, he added that Citizen Investment Trust provided a loan of Rs 1 billion to the corporation to enable it to pay off partial debts in the next few days. “The overall import will improve from tomorrow but it will not be for a long time,” said Dhungel.
The scarcity of petroleum products means many households and businesses can no longer use generators, said Pradhan. “It is bad news for everyone since the country endures hours of power cuts every day and relies heavily on the use of fuel-based generators.”
Amid the fear of acute shortage of petroleum products, experts demanded a clear figure of the import of petroleum products.
“The amount of loss released by Nepal Oil Corporation is not convicting at all since vehicular movement and industrial activities have decreased in the last two months,” an official at the ministry told The Himalayan Times. “It is suspicious that the amount stated as loss has remained the same even though fuel consumption has dropped,” he said, challenging NOC to reveal every single data in a scientific manner.