Election fever drives fuel import
Kathmandu, November 15
Import of petroleum products — especially petrol and diesel — has surged in the past few weeks owing to the upcoming first-past-the-post provincial and parliamentary elections slated for November 26 and December 7.
As party candidates across the country have been using a large number of vehicles for their election campaigns, this has increased the consumption rate of petroleum products in the domestic market.
“The demand for petrol and diesel has increased by almost 20 per cent in recent days and is expected to increase further as the election date approaches closer,” said Birendra Goit, spokesperson for Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC).
Statistics maintained by NOC show that the country imported 1,288 kilolitres of petrol on October 30. Thereafter, the import of the commodity has been increasing constantly. While NOC imported 2,024 kilolitres of petrol on November 3, petrol import surged to 2,276 kilolitres on November 7 and to 2,341 kilolitres on November 14.
Similarly, the import of diesel has also skyrocketed over the last two weeks. On October 30, the country had imported 4,304 kilolitres of diesel. Diesel import again surged to 5,368 kilolitres on November 3. It dipped slightly to 5,137 kilolitres on November 7 before spiking to 7,374 kilolitres on November 14.
The Election Commission (EC) has set a limit whereby each parliamentary election candidate is allowed to utilise a maximum of four units of four-wheelers and four-units of two-wheelers for their election campaign. Similarly, for provincial election candidates the limit has been set at two units of four-wheelers and two-units of two-wheelers. However, party candidates have flouted the EC’s norms and have been using more than the prescribed number of vehicles for promotional campaigns thus violating the election code of conduct in the process.
As the election fever has gripped the country, petroleum dealers said that construction works of different projects have also been going on smoothly these days thereby increasing the consumption of diesel for energy production.
“It is often that more vehicles are deployed in rural and city areas ahead of elections. The uninterrupted construction works of different projects have also played a crucial role in increasing fuel consumption in the country over the past few months,” said Lilendra Pradhan, president of Nepal Petroleum Dealers Association.
However, Pradhan also informed that fuel consumption is usually higher during winter season.
Meanwhile, NOC officials have said that the domestic market will not face a crunch of petroleum products during the election despite the growing fuel demand.
“We have been using all our mechanisms to ensure that fuel supply is normal during the elections,” said NOC Spokesperson Goit.