KATHMANDU: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have remotely inaugurated the Nepal-India cross-border petroleum pipeline today through a video conference via remote control.
The formal inauguration took place after the executive heads of both the neighbouring countries pressed a switch through a live video conference connecting the Prime Minister’s Office in Singha Durbar, Office of the Indian Prime Minister in New Delhi, Amlekhgunj-based oil depot of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), and Motihari-based depot of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC).
Also present at the inaugural meeting from Nepal’s side was Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Matrika Prasad Yadav, Indian Ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri, among other officials.
With the inauguration, a bottle of diesel filled from the new pipeline was symbolically handed over to Nepali authorities at the Amlekhgunj depot, which would be poured into the petroleum storage unit.
First proposed in 1996, the Motihari-Amlekhgunj oil pipeline finally edged closer to reality during Indian PM Modi’s visit to Kathmandu in 2014. The two governments had signed an agreement to execute the project in August 2015. However, the 2015 earthquakes delayed the construction of the project.
It is believed that the pipeline will help in solving the oil storage problem in Nepal and will reduce transit costs.