Smuggling of petro products rises in Sarlahi

- Aman Koirala, SARLAHI
Indian vehicles are coming to Sarlahi to refill their tanks as petrol and diesel are cheaper by Rs22.95 and Rs26.38 per litre, respectively, in the district than in India

Apr 23, 2018-Yet another district adjoining Nepal-India border point has reported cases of smuggling of petroleum products to India, where petrol and diesel are expensive than in Nepal.

Sarlahi has lately seen a surge in demand for petroleum products, raising eyebrows of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), the sole supplier of fossil fuel in Nepal.

“Demand for petrol and diesel has soared at gas stations located near the border point. This has been going on for two months and the situation is worse in five gas stations,” said Pradip Kumar Yadav, chief of Amlekhgunj Depot of NOC. This, according to Yadav, means petrol and diesel are being smuggled to India. “These incidents are taking place because petroleum products are cheaper in Nepal,” he said.

Petrol and diesel are cheaper by Rs22.95 and Rs26.38 per litre, respectively, in the district than in India. As a result, more and more Indian vehicles are visiting gasoline stations in Sarlahi to refill their tanks.

“The flow of Indian vehicles to Nepal increases whenever petroleum products are cheaper here. But Nepali vehicles also visit Indian gas stations when prices are lower there,” said Ram Binay Prasad, a businessman based in Sonbarsa.

Lately, there are also reports of petroleum products being smuggled to India in big plastic vessels, according to Sunil Sah, president of the Petroleum Dealers Association (Sarlahi Chapter).

Following these cases, NOC has formally requested the district administration office to monitor activities of gasoline stations and curb illegal transport of petrol and diesel to India.

“Security personnel have increased surveillance at gas stations after NOC made the request,” said Sah.

Lately, cases of smuggling of fuel to India from bordering Nepali cities are gradually rising.

The District Administration Office (DAO) of Rautahat has already started deploying security personnel at gasoline stations to control smuggling of petroleum products to India. The measure was taken after gasoline stations were found colluding with smugglers, who were illegally transporting petrol and diesel to India, creating shortage of petroleum products in Rautahat.

Earlier, eastern Nepali district of Sunsari had also reported a number of cases of theft and smuggling of petroleum products.

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: 23-04-2018 09:03

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