Kathmandu, March 15

Transporters have been obstructing the supply of petroleum products, especially in the eastern parts of the country, since the last two days demanding hike in wages and other facilities.

Interestingly, transporters have been staging their protest from Wednesday after Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) made it mandatory for fuel tankers operating along the Jhapa-Sindhuli route to have security locking system fitted in their vehicles.

Hundreds of fuel tankers supply fuel to the eastern part of the country via Jhapa-Sindhuli route.

Though these transporters (drivers of fuel tankers) have been demanding increment in wages and other facilities, NOC officials claimed that the transporters were actually against the new rule requiring security locking system in tankers.

“It seems like too much of a coincidence that the transporters have been staging the protest from the very day that we enforced the rule on fitting the locking system in tankers,” said Sushil Bhattarai, acting deputy managing director of NOC, adding that even if that is the case, NOC will not roll back its decision at any cost.

“Moreover, since the issues regarding the wages are related to the transporters and operators of fuel tankers, the two parties should resolve their differences through negotiations,” he said.

Citing that the new rule to fit such locks in all fuel-ferrying vehicles has been welcomed by all the stakeholders of domestic fuel industry, Bhattarai said that any activity that intends to obstruct the security lock fitting process in tankers is illegal.

Saying so, he also urged the related operators to sort out the issue with their staffers and ensure that petroleum supply is not obstructed.

NOC has planned to instal such security locks in all oil carrying vehicles within mid-June. Almost 1,800 tankers are currently deployed to transport petroleum products from India to Nepal.

Installation of such electromechanical locking system in tankers is believed to control pilferage while fuel is being transported to Nepal as the security lock can be opened only at the loading and unloading points. The locking system will have two keys - one will remain with the Indian depot and the other with the Nepali depot - which will lower the chances of oil leakages and theft on the way.