Rautahat deploys police at gas stations to curb smuggling

  • Move after gas stations found colluding with smugglers
A litre of petrol in Nepal is Rs22 cheaper than in India and a litre of diesel is Rs28 cheaper here than across the border

Apr 20, 2018-The District Administration Office (DAO) of Rautahat has started deploying security personnel at gasoline stations in rural and border areas of the district to control smuggling of petroleum products to India, where petrol and diesel are expensive than in Nepal.

The DAO Rautahat enforced the new measure on Thursday. The DAO has also barred sales of petroleum products during night time and in plastic vessels.

These measures were taken after gasoline stations were found colluding with smugglers, who illegally transport petrol and diesel to India, creating shortage of petroleum products in Rautahat. Gasoline stations located in Gaur, Shivanagar and Garuda are mostly engaged in this malpractice, according to the DAO.

“Even big gas stations are involved in illegal trade of petroleum products. That’s why we had to deploy police at gasoline stations,” said Ganesh Adhikari, chief district officer of Rautahat. “We will now take legal action against those found engaged in illegal transportation of petroleum products to India.”

At present, per litre of petrol is Rs22 cheaper in Nepal than in India and per litre of diesel is Rs28 cheaper here than across the border. Smugglers are eyeing this price difference to make hay.

Many smugglers use plastic vessels of 10 to 50 litres in capacity to illegally transport petroleum products to India. Smugglers are also using bigger vessels to smuggle fuel. This practice has created shortage of petrol and diesel in some parts of Rautahat, which is home to around 44 gasoline stations. Locals complain that gas stations only supply petroleum products to Indians. This has affected farmers who need petroleum products to use threshing machine in the ongoing harvest season.

Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), the sole supplier of petroleum products in Nepal, supplies around 100,000 litres of diesel and around 50,000 litres of petrol per month in Rautahat. “There should be no shortage of fuel, as we are making deliveries as per the district’s needs,” said Pradip Yadav, chief of NOC’s Amlekhgunj depot.

However, Bhola Das, operator of a gas station in Rautahat, said the district was facing shortage of petroleum products due to ongoing harvest season and greater movement of vehicles. “I don’t think fuel is being smuggled to India,” he said. “But if we come across such cases we will try to stop it.”

Lately, cases of smuggling of fuel to India from bordering Nepali cities are gradually rising. Recently, eastern Nepali district of Sunsari had reported a number of such cases.

A few days ago, a driver of an oil tanker that left NOC’s Biratnagar depot with 20,000 litres of diesel took the vehicle to India, where he sold the fuel. Few weeks ago, another oil tanker that was supposed to deliver 20,000 litres of diesel to five gasoline stations in Sunsari, disappeared after supplying 12,000 litres of diesel to three gasoline stations. The driver later sold 8,000 litres of diesel in India.

Published: 20-04-2018 08:49

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