KATHMANDU, May 23: After imports through Raxaul, the main source point, remained stalled for four days, Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has said it is preparing to resume imports and transport fuel to depots across the country under police escort.
The import had come to a standstill after banda enforcers in Tarai districts started targeting tankers ferrying petroleum products from Friday night.
“We were continuing import and transportation of fuel in the evening and during night hours till last week. But Friday night´s attacks on trucks and tankers terrified drivers and tanker staff. They stopped ferrying fuel after the attack,” said NOC Spokesperson Mukunda Dhungel.
Because of the stalemate, NOC has been failing to replenish its stock. That is not all. Banda in the Kathmandu Valley and other parts of the country has also left some 100 tankers en route to Kathmandu stranded on different highways.
Given the security threats, Dhungel said NOC is preparing to depute senior officials to Amlekhgunj, wherein the main storage tanks of the corporation are located, to negotiate with the drivers and convince them to resume operations, and coordinate with the regional and district security councils for unhindered movement of tankers.
NOC is planning to move the vehicles stranded in different places by deploying security officials, if the situation did not improve on Wednesday as well.
“We have worked out a clear action plan for imports and transportation of fuel. If the situation did not improve tomorrow (Wednesday), we will act as per the action plan,” said Dhungel.
NOC developed the plan after holding meeting with the officials of tanker operators, petroleum dealers and liquefied petroleum gas bottlers on Tuesday. During the meeting, petroleum dealers had strongly criticized the NOC for not taking any initiative to move stranded tankers to the depot.
“If NOC was serious, it should have taken prompt steps to move stranded tankers to Thankot depot. That would have at least helped it replenish stock and freed the tankers for further operations,” said Linendra Pradhan, president of Nepal Petroleum Dealers´ Association (NPDA). “Sadly, NOC leadership needed instruction from the Chief Secretary to carry out its basic duty. This is unfortunate,” said Pradhan.
In the absence of fund, NOC has largely failed to maintain adequate import to meet demand since the past three weeks. This has triggered fuel scarcity in the market. As NOC used its stock to manage consumption, its stock across the country has dropped to around 14,000 KL, which is enough to meet demand for just four days.