Smuggling of petroleum products on rise in Banke

Banke, August 5:

With petroleum crisis deepening across the country, black marketing and smuggling of petroleum products is flourishing in Nepalgunj.

While petrol pumps provide fuel to only a few vehicles citing shortage of fuel, smugglers are cashing in on the situation by selling sub-standard petroleum products smuggled from India.

Due to the scarcity of petroleum in the depots in Nepalgunj, many vehicle owners have been buying petroleum at an exorbitant price from the black market.

The smugglers have reportedly been buying diesel at IRs 37 from India and selling it at NRs 80, which is Rs 10 more than the government fixed price of diesel in the local market. Similarly, they buy petrol at IRs 56 a litre and sell it for NRs 130 in Nepal. The government fixed price for petrol is Rs 100.60 a litre in Nepal.

Musiri Ahamad, who was selling diesel in drums under the nose of Border Police, said, “We have been selling petroleum at a profit of Rs 20 per litre but nobody has prevented us from selling it.” President of Namaste Nepal Transport Entrepreneurs’ Committee Rabindra Lamsal said the vehicle owners were compelled to buy adulterated petroleum products at an exorbitant price in the black market.

President of Bheri Zonal Petroleum Dealers’ Association, Chintamani Poudel, said that the shortage of oil loomed large as NOC distributes petroleum products to the dealers in every 4-5 days. He admitted that a few petrol pumps might have been hoarding some amount of petroleum products for emergency vehicles like ambulances and police jeeps but denied allegations that they were creating an artificial shortage.