Kathmandu, August 6
The government is preparing to link Kathmandu with the petroleum pipeline via the Fast Track route.
After receiving a request from Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) to extend the Motihari-Amlekhgunj Petroleum Pipeline to Kathmandu via the Fast Track route, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies (MoICS) has asked the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to study the possibility of using the Fast Track route for the purpose.
The Nepali Army, which is under MoD, is undertaking the Fast Track project.
“Following the successful completion of the Motihari-Amlekhgunj oil pipeline, NOC has requested MoICS to look into the possibility of extending the project to Kathmandu via the Fast Track route.
As Nepali Army is constructing the road project, we have forwarded the NOC’s proposal to MoD,” said Kedar Bahadur Adhikari, secretary at MoICS.
Though Motihari-Amlekhgunj oil pipeline project, which is expected to commence operation within this month, was funded by Indian Oil Corporation, NOC has proposed to extend the pipeline to Kathmandu through its own resources.
Meanwhile, MoICS is hopeful of MoD and Nepali Army allowing NOC to use the Fast Track route to extend the pipeline.
Similarly, Adhikari said that MoICS also expects Nepali Army to help NOC in conducting a survey on extending the pipeline project via the proposed route.
Officials of Nepali Army have said that they have received a letter from MoD to carry out a study on the feasibility of using the Fast Track route to lay the petroleum pipeline. The detailed project report (DPR) of the Fast Track, which was prepared by Nepali Army, is currently at the Cabinet.
However, the DPR does not talk about the proposal of NOC and MoICS regarding the pipeline. If it is feasible to lay a pipeline along the Fast Track route, Nepali Army has already expressed its willingness to support NOC’s plan.
Meanwhile, Surendra Kumar Poudel, executive director of NOC, said that it will finalise the project cost and other necessary work plans if the study finds that laying a fuel pipeline along the Fast Track route is feasible.
If the plan is feasible, NOC will extend the pipeline to Nijgadh and then to Lalitpur via the Fast Track.
If executed properly, extending fuel pipeline to Kathmandu will reduce transportation cost for NOC significantly as the Valley is the major consumer of petroleum products and fuel in the Valley is supplied through trucks and tankers. The operation of Motihari-Amlekhgunj pipeline itself is expected to reduce fuel transportation cost by over Rs two billion.
A version of this article appears in print on August 07, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.