EDITORIAL: Easing supply

The petroleum pipeline agreement signed at ministerial level by Nepal and India in Kathmandu on Monday had been long overdue.  But this pact has paved the way for the laying of a 41-km-long pipeline from the bordering town of Raxaul in India to Amlekhgunj in Nepal to carry petroleum products after the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) and the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) sign an agreement, probably soon, to construct the pipeline. It is planned to complete the pipeline project within 30 months after starting work. The project is estimated to cost Nepali rupees 2.75 billion, of which NOC is to bear Rs.750 million, and IOC the rest as a grant. These two oil corporations will sign three contracts—on engineering, supply and third party, the last making room for third parties as well to benefit from the pipeline. The supply of petroleum products through the pipeline will be managed under a 15-year contract, with the initial contract being of five years, which will be extendable for two further terms.

The present pipeline agreement will fulfill the pledge made by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to build an oil pipeline for Nepal

The supply of petroleum products by pipelines instead of carrying them overland by tankers will give various benefits, including lower costs and less risk of disruptions in supply. The pipeline is estimated to save Rs.700 million annually in transportation cost from Raxaul to Amlekhgunj, which will help keep down the prices of petroleum products to some extent. Apart from the cost, the pipeline will also save travel time for petroleum products, which will help to reduce petroleum shortages in the country, and minimize pilferages of petroleum products, which often happen with tankers carrying the petroleum, and it will also help to save cost. Other benefits will be to reduce traffic congestions on the highway as well as at the Raxaul-Birgunj customs point, and as a result, it will reduce the customs hassle in imports of other goods from India.  IOC’s Raxaul depot supplies 60 per cent of Nepal’s petroleum imports.

Commerce Minister Sunil Bahadur Thapa has said that the pipeline agreement has realized a 20-year-long dream. On the signing occasion, the Indian minister of state for petroleum and natural gas, Dharmendra Pradhan, said India could also construct a LPG pipeline from India to Nepal to make its supply easier for Nepali homes and also extend the petroleum pipeline from Amlekhgunj to Kathmandu through the Tarai-Kathmandu fast track. He also floated the idea of extending these pipelines to various regions of Nepal. These ideas are worth considering after the work starts on the Raxaul-Amlekhgunj pipeline. These ideas, if really approved and put into action would ensure uninterrupted supply of oil from India, even during long strikes and bandhs in areas covering the land supply routes from the Indian border town to Kathmandu and even other regions of the country. The present pipeline agreement will fulfill the pledge made by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to build an oil pipeline for Nepal while addressing the Nepali Legislature-Parliament during his first visit to Nepal in August last year soon after becoming prime minister. But a major test lies in its prompt implementation to complete the project within the given 30 months.

Cattle nuisance

The owners of abandoned domestic animals should also face legal action for their negligence. Meanwhile, the KMC has rescued as many as Stray cattle continue to pose as hazards in the capital city since long. They obstruct traffic of vehicles as well, not to talk about the pedestrians walking on the pavements. Even vendors selling vegetables and fruits have a tough time chasing them away. Also they are major obstacles in the bid to keep the capital city green as they destroy the greenery in the streets and also the parks. The Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) has so far failed to deal with this pestering problem although records show that around 1,200 cattle have been registered with it. The owners discarding the registered cattle should be liable to pay fines for their folly, but this does not seem to be done.  Still it seems the owners are least concerned about the inconvenience they are causing.

1,148 stray animals between 2012 and 2015. The KMC have been selling them in districts in the periphery of the capital and has made money to the tune of Rs. 634,000.