Nepal | July 16, 2020

Oil tankers deliberately disrupt supply

NOC almost doubles supply of petrol in market to 800 kilolitres per day

Sujan Dhungana
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A view of Nepal Oil Corporation Limited Central Office, Babarmahal, Kathmandu, on January 4, 2017. Photo: Sureis/THT Online

Kathmandu, February 21

Due to the deliberate disruption in supply of petroleum products by petroleum tanker operators close to the General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT) consumers have started queuing at gasoline stations across Kathmandu Valley fearing another shortage.

As a result of this disruption, the demand for petroleum products has increased substantially in the domestic market and the demand has not subsided even though Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has doubled the quantity of petrol and diesel that it supplies regularly in the market.

Following this disruption, NOC has almost doubled the supply of petrol in the market to 800 kilolitres per day against normal demand of 450 kilolitres since Sunday. Similarly, NOC has also increased supply of diesel.

Putting forth the demand to amend the Petroleum Products Transportation Bylaw, agitating tanker operators close to GEFONT had completely halted supply of petroleum products on Friday by not loading fuel from Indian oil refineries. Submitting their 15-point demand to the government, the tanker operators have even threatened to completely halt supply from Monday.

As learned by The Himalayan Times, Arjun Aryal, a tanker operator, has been leading the agitation. However, he could not be reached on his phone for comment despite repeated attempts made by THT.

Agitating tanker operators have been asking NOC to amend a rule in the new bylaw, which requires operators to maintain a minimum fleet size of five tankers, among others. Though operators with single tankers were also allowed to supply petroleum products in the country previously, NOC had amended the Petroleum Products Transportation Bylaw requiring all tanker operators to maintain at least five tankers.

Khageswor Bohara, president of Nepal Petroleum Transporters Federation (NPTF), said that the supply disruption attempt was being made by only those tanker operators close to GEFONT.

“Out of almost 1,800 petroleum tankers operating in the country, some 800 tankers are individually owned and they are staging a protest citing that they cannot increase their fleet of tankers as required by the amended bylaw,” he said.

However, Bohara is of the view that these tanker operators should not interrupt regular supply of petroleum products. He urged agitating tanker operators to resolve the issue through dialogue with the government. Informing that NOC did not properly consult stakeholders while making amendments in the bylaw, Bohara said, “Had the NOC consulted tanker operators before amending its rule, the problem would not have arisen.”

Meanwhile, NOC officials said that halting supply of essentials like petroleum products is a serious crime and the state should initiate stringent action against such people. “However, tanker operators do not seem to fear the law and the state has become a mere spectator,” an NOC source said seeking anonymity.

A version of this article appears in print on February 22, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.

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