Kathmandu, June 13
Though the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) had made it mandatory for oil-carrying tankers to install the security locking system within January, only 300 fuel tankers out of almost 1,500 have complied with the new rules till today.
Khageswor Bohara, president of Nepal Petroleum Transporters’ Federation (NPTF), informed that around 300 tankers plying the Kathmandu-Barauni, Kathmandu-Amlekhgunj and vice-versa routes, among others, have successfully installed such automatic locking system.
He further informed that transporters have been fitting the locking system on new tankers and are planning to install the security lock on existing old tankers within a few months.
Asked about the inability of transporters to meet the deadline set by NOC to install such locking system on their tankers, he said they have been facing problems due to insufficient lock fitting centres in the country.
“Currently, there are three security locking fitting centres in Nepal — two in Birgunj and one in Hetauda. These centres can install the locking system on not more than a dozen fuel tankers in a day,” said Bohara, adding that transporters have been installing the locking system on fuel-carrying tankers from January first week itself.
Transporters have also blamed the inadequacy of technical equipment required to fit the locking system with NOC for the delay. With limited resources with NOC, transporters also said that it would take more than a year to complete the fitting of locking system on all tankers.
Initially, the transporters had started fitting the locking system in India before bring in the new tankers. However, transporters have been fitting the locking system in the country itself after Nepal set up the lock fitting centres, considering the cost effectiveness.
In a bid to curb the increasing incidents of oil pilferage in the country, NOC, in July last year, had decided to install such locking system on petroleum tankers. On November 10, NOC had published a notice urging transporters to fit the locking system on tankers within January.
Installing the locking system on fuel tankers is expected to control the oil theft and leakage as the new locks can only be unlocked at the depots of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and NOC. The security lock will have two master keys — one each at the depot of IOC and NOC and it cannot be unlocked with any duplicate key.
Meanwhile, NOC officials said that implementing the locking system on fuel tankers is being delayed due to the delay in manufacturing the master key by the Indian manufacturing company. “We have already imported the locking system from India. However, lack of master key of the available locks has been delaying the entire process,” Sitaram Pokharel, spokesperson for NOC, said.
However, Pokharel informed that the Indian manufacturing company has already started supplying master keys to Indian oil depots and NOC would bring them as soon as possible.
NOC is showing leniency towards transporters that have not complied with the rules stating that the delay in fitting the locks is due to ‘technical problems’.
A version of this article appears in print on June 14, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.