Petroleum smuggling rampant in Rautahat

Rautahat, April 27

Gas station operators in Rautahat district headquarters Gaur and elsewhere in the district are reportedly involved in smuggling petroleum products across the border, much to the chagrin of customers, for whom it is hard to get fuel in required quantity long after the unofficial blockade ended.

There are three petrol stations, namely Shushil, Gupta and Aslam petrol pumps in Gaur Municipality.

Though the pumps receive fuel once every week without fail, much to everyone’s surprise, they run out of stock the very next day.

Sources say the government’s recent directive to gas stations not to dispense petroleum products in jerry cans and other receptacles hasn’t done anything to stop the illegal practice. Though as per the rule, petrol stations are allowed to only directly fuel vehicles, a fuel smuggling racket is said to be operating hand-in-gloves with the petrol station operators.

“Every day large amount of petro-products is smuggled to India in jerry cans loaded in auto-rickshaws. The trade has flourished of late with no one, not even the local police, willing to do anything to stop them,” lamented a local youth Pusparaj Yadav, adding that petro-products are dearer by 15 rupees in the Indian market.

According to him, the situation is similar in most places in the district including Rajpur, Farahawada, Bankul and Shukadev Chowk.

“You go there the day after they get fuel and you will be made to return you empty-handed because their stock is finished, while they secretly send all their stock across the border,” he said.

Local political leader Shyamchandra Jha also bemoaned the smuggling of petro-products in Rauathat as well as other districts bordering India and sought stern steps from the authorities concerned to stop the illegal practice.

A police officer in Rautahat conceded that smuggling took place across the border. “For one, it’s impossible for the police to be everywhere, which might have encouraged smugglers. But even at places where the police are present, some police personnel might have simply neglected their duty. This has defamed the entire police administration in the district,” he said.