Only emergency service vehicles will get the remaining stock of fuel
Kathmandu, November 9
In a major blow to consumers queuing for petrol, diesel and cooking gas, Nepal Oil Corporation has said its remaining stock of fuel will only be distributed to operators of emergency services like hospitals, security, bigger public transport vehicles, telecommunications, suppliers of drinking water and dairy products, garbage trucks, among others.
NOC has also said it can no longer provide fuel to government vehicles and taxis because of limited fuel stock 800 kilolitres of petrol and 2,700 kl diesel and also because supply lines along the Nepal-India border continue to be disrupted by the agitating Madhes-based parties.
“NOC will issue a public notice about when it will be able to distribute fuel again,” said Gopal Bahadur Khadka, managing director of NOC.
“There are long queues of motorists, motorcyclists in front of fuel stations and people have been queuing for cooking gas since many days. Therefore, we want to inform about the current situation.”
NOC has started distribution of half-filled cooking gas cylinders to ease the current crisis after a few gas bullets were re-routed and entered the country via Jogbani (Biratnagar) and Panitanki (Mechi) customs point of India. However, the Indian side has not dispatched a single gas bullet since last week, according to NOC.
It is reported that NOC has already brought 665 kl of the 1,300 kl petrol granted by the Chinese government as goodwill gesture to fuel-strapped Nepal. The next lot of tankers will be dispatched to Kyirong tomorrow to bring fuel.
Even as NOC has permitted private sector to import fuel and granted licence for the same to 11 private companies, none have been able to bring fuel.
Moreover, a deal struck with privately owned company Birat Petroleum, which had quoted Rs 199 and Rs 187 for each litre of petrol and diesel, respectively has also been scrapped as oversight agencies started investigating the deal.
NOC has said that it has recovered Rs 200 million the amount that had been released to the latter to import fuel through its bank guarantee today as the latter unilaterally announced termination of the contract yesterday.
After all these developments, NOC today sought the Cabinet’s decision for fuel supply citing it would not be possible for the corporation to award contract to any private party as per the prevailing laws, said Khadka.
NOC said it will prioritise uninterrupted service to domestic airlines and for this Nepal Airlines has pledged to supply fuel to NOC by airlifting aviation turbine fuel.
NAC operated three flights today to airlift ATF from Kolkata and similar number of flights will be operated tomorrow. NAC airlifts 24 to 26 kl ATF in one trip.
Another private Nepali company Petromax Nepal which won the contract to airlift ATF and planned to bring the aviation fuel from yesterday has been unable to do so.
The company had chartered a Jordan Aviation Airlines’ Boeing 767, but the plane is yet to land as the company has not taken landing permission from Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.
A version of this article appears in print on November 10, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.