Maoists distribute seized oil among Banke residents

Banke, February 27:

Nine oil tankers captured by Maoists last Saturday were spotted at Baijapur area of Banke today.

The Maoists had captured nine oil tankers carrying petroleum products from Nepalgunj to Dang at Agaiyya of Banke.

According to the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) regional office in Nepalgunj, the tankers contained 9,000 litres of petrol, 51,000 litres of diesel and 48,000 litres of kerosene.

The Maoists took seven of the captured tankers to the outskirts of Kummar jungle at Baijapur VDC-5, Banke, across Rapti River from Agaiyya, while two tankers were stuck in the Rapti river. They drained oil from the two tankers stuck in the Rapti on Saturday night, locals said.

The two tankers are currently in abandoned state with most of their equipment and batteries removed. The Maoists are distributing the petroleum products in the tankers to the residents of Baijapur and Binauna VDCs.

One Khenat Chaudhari of Baijapur-1 said though the Maoists were distributing oil to local residents, he had not received any amount of oil. He said, “Some people got more oil than they needed while some like me didn’t even get a little.” The residents who were enraged after not getting any oil had even tried to set fire to the tankers, locals said.

A local Maoist cadre said the Maoists had captured the tankers and distributed the oil to locals.

However, local political leaders said the Maoist action would only earn them more criticism.

Chief of Regional Office of NOC at Nepalgunj, Pushkar Datta, said oil in the tankers belonged to 24 oil dealers in Dang. He said: “The oil was paid for and bills of the payment given to the dealers. The NOC will not be accountable for the fate of the seized petroleum products.”