HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
BIRATNAGAR: With Indian Oil Corporation cutting diesel supply to eastern part of Nepal on a massive scale, about 90 per cent of the petrol pumps operating here have closed.
So far, about 350 petrol stations have shut after they did not receive diesel for over one week, leaving the transportation sector, industries and factories completely at the receiving end.
It has been learnt that heavy reduction in the diesel supply to Nepal has to do with dues of Rs 1.5 billion that Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) owes to its Indian counterpart. According to NOC Eastern Regional Office, the Indian oil supplier now supplies only 200 kilo litres to eastern Nepal every day, down from the usual supply of up to 500 kilo litres of the past.
Likewise, IOC has also slashed its supply of petrol. “Earlier the Indian oil supplier would supply 50 kilo litres of petrol everyday but now it has reduced the supply to only 12 kilo litres daily,” said Balaram Bhattarai, acting chief of the NOC regional office, adding that NOC has run out of diesel stock and will be compelled to stop its distribution completely if the minimum supply is also stopped.
Meanwhile, the diesel crunch has hit industries hard, not to mention the transportation sector as well. Industries which run on diesel during load-shedding now face serious problem.
Industrialist Ramesh Rathi said a lot of industries have been compelled to halt production during the load-shedding hours owing to the prevailing diesel crunch.
The heavy cut in petro-products import has also affected revenue collection at Biratnagar customs. “Earlier, we would collect revenue up to 15 million daily but for the past one week we have been able to rack up only 2.2 million daily owing to decreased import of petroleum products,” said Information Officer Raj Kumar Regmi of the customs office.