Kathmandu, February 19
Though it has been more than a year since the government directed fuel transporters to instal high-tech security locking system in fuel tankers, transporters are yet to affix such locks on more than 55 per cent of tankers ferrying petroleum products in the country.
In November of 2016, the state-owned Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) had directed fuel transporters to fit the locking system on tankers at the earliest. However, fuel transport entrepreneurs have so far installed such locking system on only 800 tankers, out of almost 1,800 fuel tankers that are into oil transporting business.
Fuel transporters said that though they have been gradually installing the security locking system in the tankers, unavailability of ample technical manpower and equipment in the country has slowed down the lock fitting process.
“Though all fuel transporters are keen to fit such security system in their tankers as soon as possible, they are facing difficulties in finding the technical manpower,” said Khageswor Bohora, president of Nepal Petroleum Transporters’ Federation (NPTF), adding that the process has also been delayed because all the necessary equipment for the locking system have to be imported from India.
Likewise, fuel transporters have also attributed the delay in fitting high-tech locking system in tankers to unavailability of adequate security locking fitting centres.
“Had NOC facilitated transporters to fit such technology in tankers by ensuring timely availability of technical manpower, equipment and fitting centres, such system would have been installed in every fuel tanker by now,” added Bohora.
However, Bohora claimed that the fitting of locking system on all tankers would be completed by the end of this fiscal year.
The government had directed transporters to instal such locking system on petroleum tankers in a bid to curb the increasing incidents of oil pilferage in the country. Installing the locking system on fuel tankers is expected to control oil theft and leakage as such locks can only be unlocked at the depots of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and NOC.
Meanwhile, NOC officials seem to be quite satisfied with the progress made in installing locking system on petroleum tankers. “Transporters are gradually fitting such technology on oil tankers and we expect them to complete installing security locks on all tankers soon,” said Birendra Goit, spokesperson for NOC, adding that the corporation will facilitate transporters by all means to ensure that all fuel-ferrying tankers incorporate the high-tech security locks.
A version of this article appears in print on February 20, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.