DOTI, Jan 13: Fuel traders in the district have claimed that the tankers of Nepal Oil Corporation have been delivering less than the said amount of petroleum. The tankers have been supplying them four percent less petroleum in average, the traders have claimed.
“I order fuel depositing a sum for 6,000 liters of petrol, and I receive invoice for the delivery of the same volume. However, each time the tankers come to deliver, the volume of oil is less by at least 200 to 300 liters,” said Prem Bahadur Bhandari who runs SG Fuel Center situated in Dipayal Silgadhi Municipality-5.
“Although this problem is more evident in petrol, we have experienced insufficient delivery of fuel in diesel as well,” added Bhandari.
Another fuel dealer, Bhim Bahadur Kunwar of Indrasara Oil Store told Republica: “Although we pay for 12,000 liters of petrol, around 500 liters are always lost in transportation, and not more than 11,500 liters of fuel hit the storage tank.”
“NOC officials collaborate with drivers to sell out a chunk of the dispatched petrol providing us lesser than what we paid for,” said Bhandari, adding, “NOC officials always have an excuse regarding insufficient fuel supply. They just cite the temperature difference between two places.”
Bhandari further added, “I have informed NOC office at Dipayal and District Administration Office, Doti. However, there has been no response to my requests.” Bhandari has not ordered deliveries for the past two weeks which has caused short supply of petrol in Doti. Bhandari is the only petrol suppler in the district.
Kunwar is also mulling to reconsider his decision to sell petrol if the status quo does not change. “There is no point providing service keeping your home and field at stake, we need at least an incentive to continue selling petrol. What little profit we could make is now snatched away by NOC officials and drivers. How can our business sustain with such a dire situation?”
THE ISSUE OF FLUCTUATION IN TEMPERATURE
The volume of fluid such as fuel fluctuates with flux in temperature. Citing the decrease in volume due to fall in temperature, NOC officials are getting away with delivering less volume of petroleum.
“Referring to the 10 to 15 degree Celsius fall in temperature while transporting petrol from Dhangadhi to Doti, NOC officials keep drivers at the safe end and get away with supplying us with insufficient fuel,” said Bhandari.
NOC officials however say that the difference in volume is solely due to the temperature difference. “Temperature changes results in change in volume of fuel. The underlying cause of insufficient fuel supply is mainly due to the chilly winter decreasing the volume even more,” said Niran Magarati, chief of NOC office situated in Dipayal who added that it was not feasible to address the problem at the moment as the district had no fuel storage facility in order to store the petroleum at Dipayal itself to address the issue.
Prevalence of black-market sales of fuel
Petrol inadequacy has hit Dipayal time and again since JB Oil Store was engulfed in flames some time back, and SG Fuels has been single-handedly supplying petrol in the district since then.
Although SG Fuels has stopped the supply of petrol, black market sales of petrol has increased as petrol is sold at an inflated rate. Marketplaces such as Badur, Gaura, Dipayal, Silgadhi, Shantinagar, Sanu Gaun, and Chaukhutte have been a hub for black market sales of petrol in Doti.