Kathmandu, March 26
Though it has been almost a year since Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) started issuing construction licences for the ‘model petrol pumps’ across the country, those that have acquired the licence have yet to begin the construction works.
In a bid to standardise domestic fuel industry and facilitate customers, NOC had envisioned construction of ‘model petrol pumps’ with intensive facilities and started issuing licences for such high-tech petrol pumps from April last year.
Moreover, almost 30 individuals and private firms have taken licences from NOC to construct such high-tech fuel stations, which is expected to cost Rs 10 million each, as per NOC officials.
However, the licence acquirers are yet to begin construction of such model petrol pumps though the Fuel Distribution Bylaw, 2016 of NOC states that those who acquire the licence to set up ‘model petrol pump’ should complete the construction process within two years of acquiring the permit.
A petroleum dealer, under the condition of anonymity, told The Himalayan Times that a majority of licence acquirers for high-tech fuel stations are lobbying with the government to allow them to run normal petrol pumps.
“Instead of setting up ‘model petrol pump’, those who have acquired NOC’s permit to set up high-tech fuel stations are pressurising the government to allow them to set up normal fuel stations. This is because NOC is not issuing new fuel dealership at present,” the official said.
Meanwhile, LilendraPradhan, president of Nepal Petroleum Dealers Association (NPDA), said that though setting up such high-tech fuel stations across the country is crucial to standardise fuel distribution system, the government’s plan should not hamper the businesses of the fuel dealers who have been running petrol pumps in traditional manner.
“It is the responsibility of NOC itself to monitor the construction of model petrol pumps,” said Pradhan.
Unlike traditional petrol pumps, such high-tech petrol pumps should follow various parameters. Among others, they should be built on 13 ropanis of land (in Tarai) and on five ropanis of land (in Hilly and Himalayan regions). These fuel stations should ensure regular water and power supply and should have at least two toilets for men, four toilets for women and one for handicapped people. Such stations should also have ample parking space, well-managed drainage and separate sales counters for petrol and diesel, along with high capacity petroleum storage facility.
Meanwhile, Birendra Goit, spokesperson for NOC, informed that the licence acquirers of high-tech fuel stations have been urged to expedite the construction. “NOC will take necessary action against the licence holders failing to set up fuel stations within the given deadline of two years of acquiring the licence,” he said.
A version of this article appears in print on March 27, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.