Kathmandu, February 8
Raxaul depot of Indian Oil Corporation started providing fuel to the tankers of Nepal Oil Corporation today.
The fuel tankers entered Nepal via Raxaul-Birgunj trade route for the first time after the United Democratic Madhesi Front lifted the blockade at Birgunj border crossing after four-and-a-half months.
Even as the trade route was reopened on Friday, the UDMF officially announced today that it had changed its mode of protest and lifted blockade at border crossings.
Raxaul depot the nearest IOC depot from Nepal refilled 20 tankers, which amounts to 400 kilolitres. All the loaded tankers entered the country, according to Bhanubhakta Dhakal, NOC’s Amlekhgunj depot chief.
He added that IOC was unable to load all the 40 tankers that had reached Raxaul today because of delay in completing all the necessary procedures.
Raxaul depot today informed NOC that it would now provide fuel to NOC tankers as during the normal times. “We will extend our full cooperation to NOC from tomorrow,” Mubarak Ali, chief of Raxaul depot of IOC, told Dhakal.
During normal times, Raxaul depot caters to over 50 per cent (2,500 kilolitres) of the country’s total import of petroleum products petrol, diesel, kerosene and aviation turbine fuel.
NOC is dispatching 150 tankers per day on this route to bring fuel from tomorrow, according to Dhakal. Tankers with 20kl and 12kl capacity are used to ferry petroleum products from India.
NOC stated that it would continue to bring petrol and diesel from Barauni depot till the supply situation normalises in the country.
IOC had assigned Barauni depot to supply fuel to Nepal after it halted providing load from Raxaul depot citing blockade at Birgunj border crossing.
Barauni depot has been providing around 1,100kl of fuel a day to Nepal that is being ferried via Jogbani-Biratnagar route.
NOC has also requested IOC to allow the tankers loaded from Barauni to bring in fuel via Raxaul so that the cost of transportation and travel time can be reduced, according to NOC spokesperson Mukunda Prasad Ghimire.
Ghimire said fuel pumps would distribute only five litres of petrol to two-wheelers and 15 litres to private cars at a time till the supply situation normalises.
NOC has projected that it will take 15 to 20 days before the supply situation is fully normalised in the country, provided that NOC fuel tankers are able to receive fuel as during normal times from IOC depots.
NOC stated there are 1,500 fuel stations across the country and it needs to distribute 60,000kl fuel (40kl to each) per day to bring the supply situation to normalcy.
A version of this article appears in print on February 09, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.