Fuel rationing to end from today to shorten queues

Kathmandu, February 22

The Nepal Oil Corporation will end the rationing of fuel tomorrow, four-and-a-half months after it curtailed supply for private vehicles.

The state-owned petroleum company has allowed the fuel stations to distribute fuel as per the demand of consumers, following the instruction of Ministry of Supplies, informed NOC spokesperson Mukunda Prasad Ghimire.

NOC had imposed fuel rationing after its storage started to dwindle, along with the disruption in supply from India, in the last week of September due to border blockade by the agitating Madhes-based parties.

When supply from India through all trade routes, excluding Birgunj, became regular, NOC began providing fuel to two-wheelers and four-wheelers every alternate week based on the lots of vehicles in the last week of January.

However, it had continued with fuel rationing.

After the Raxaul depot of Indian Oil Corporation, which caters to over 50 per cent of the country’s total fuel consumption, resumed consistent supply on February 8, the state-owned petroleum company decided to distribute fuel from all the fuel stations in the Kathmandu Valley on February 12.

Even then it had not lifted the fuel rationing  up to five litres for two-wheelers and 15 litres for four-wheelers.

The MoS stated that it had instructed NOC to end fuel rationing in the hope that the length of serpentine queues seen outside fuel stations would gradually shorten if vehicle owners were allowed to refill as per their need in one go.

“We have also asked NOC to maximise the supply of petrol,” said Deepak Subedi, spokesperson for MoS.

NOC is supplying around 460 kilolitres of fuel in the Kathmandu Valley daily, against the daily demand of 350 kilolitres during normal times.

Last week, NOC had pledged to supply double the quantity of fuel than during normal times to ease the supply in the Valley with a week. However, it failed to keep its promise.

Lilendra Prasad Pradhan, president of the Nepal Petroleum Dealers National Association, said that NOC had been supplying over 25 per cent of fuel to the government-owned 12 pumps and the rest to 102 private sector pumps.

“If NOC dispatches fuel to the stations based on their capacity to serve vehicles and earlier sales track record, fuel supply could be normalised within a week,” claimed Pradhan.

NOC Spokesperson Ghimire clarified that NOC was unable to supply sufficient quantity of fuel due to short-supply from India. As per Ghimire, IOC has been supplying only 70 per cent of the fuel that it used to supply during normal times.

According to NOC, except Gonda, Siliguri and Banthara depots of IOC, all other depots have been cutting fuel supply to Nepal.

Raxaul depot of IOC has been dispatching only 1,900 kl each day against 2,500 kl during normal times; the daily supply from Betalpur depot is 500 kl against 700 kl during normal times and Barauni has been providing 600 kl against 800 kl.

Gonda, Banthara and Siliguri depots of IOC have been supplying 500 kl, 300 kl and 250 kl a day, respectively, as on regular days.

Repeated attempts to contact IOC to verify the claims of NOC went in vain.