Tanker operators-NOC meeting ends fruitless

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Feb 22, 2017-Talks between Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) and petroleum tanker operators held here on Monday ended fruitless after the latter stood firm on their stand that they would not abide by NOC’s provision that requires them to have at least five tankers to run the business.

The new provision has been included in recently-amended Petroleum Products Transportation Bylaw.

There are a number of petroleum transporters who own only one-two tankers.

At the meeting, NOC officials proposed a revision to the provision by lowering the minimum number of tankers required to three. “However, the operators were firm on their demand that the previous provision that allows them to run the business even with a single tanker be reinstated,” said an NOC source. “The NOC management is taking the truck operators demand to the board for final decision.”

The Kathmandu Valley is reeling under fuel shortages after the tanker operators, putting forth a 15-point demand, completely halted petroleum supply on Friday.

Despite NOC’s claim that it has increased petroleum supply significantly in the last three days, motorists still have to wait in long queues to refuel. On Tuesday too, most of the private petrol pumps in the Valley were shut, while long queues were seen at refilling stations that were open. NOC attributed the shortage to panic buying triggered by the tanker operators’ protest and possible agitation in the Tarai.

According to NOC, its Thankot-based depot has dispatched 2,396 kilolitres of petrol in the past three days which is almost double the normal supply.

“We supplied 848 kl of petrol on Tuesday while the quantity was 725 kl on Monday and was 823 kl on Sunday,” said Netra Kafle, chief of the depot.

Kafle also said NOC tankers are getting adequate load at Indian Oil Corporation’s depots in India. “On Tuesday alone, Nepal received 900 kl of petrol from Raxaul refilling plant, while 500 kl petrol was dispatched from the Barauni plant,” he said.

Petroleum dealers said NOC was not supplying enough fuel. “NOC has been supplying inadequate quantity of fuel for almost a week. Also, its distribution system is poor,” said Lilendra Prasad Pradhan, president of Nepal Petroleum Dealers’ Association.

Supplies Ministry, however, ruled out any shortage. “The short supply could be a result of panic buying,” said Supplies Minister Deepak Bohara. “To check any

possible hoarding by petrol pumps, we will be carrying out inspection from Wednesday,” he said.

Published: 22-02-2017 08:53

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