Valley pumps complain about low-quality petroleum products

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

May 19, 2014-

Motorists in the Kathmandu valley are not only facing a petrol shortage for the second time in a month, but are also hit by adulterated petroleum products.

Questions are being raised about the quality of fuel supplied by the NOC after a number of petrol pumps complained that their machines were facing problems due to “inferior quality petroleum products”.

“Petroleum dealers are saying pipes of the petrol vending machines were found clogged with some sticky substance,” said Nepal Petroleum Dealers’ Association (NPDA) President Lilendra Prasad Pradhan, adding the association has sent petrol samples collected from four pumps to a laboratory based in Kolkata, India, to test the quality.

“Black residues were found when we cleaned the pipes after the petrol vending machines took more time to deliver the fuel,” said an official at a petrol pump in the capital.

NOC, however, claimed it was supplying quality products. Accepting that the dealers were complaining about the fuel quality, NOC Spokesperson Mukunda Ghimire said a test at an NOC laboratory didn’t find any quality problem,” he said, dismissing allegations that NOC was trying to clear its poor-quality products by creating a shortage in the market.

Petroleum dealers say NOC has deliberately created a shortage to clear its stock of substandard petrol.

The Kathmandu valley has been witnessing a shortage of petrol for the last few days, which Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) said, was due to the recently-concluded Indian elections that affected imports from the Raxual depot of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC).

Although it has been more than a week since the election concluded, NOC said the Raxual depot itself was facing fuel shortage after the Indian railway could not make timely delivery.

Due to low supplies, most of the privately-run fuel stations were shut, while there long queues at pumps run by the army and the police.

According to petroleum dealers, they have been receiving only one-third of the demand for the last 4-5 days. “We are selling only around 4,000l of petrol daily compared to the demand of 12,000l a day,” said Shyam Karki, an employee at Chunnilal Harinarayan Oil Store in Bagbazaar, Kathmandu.

NOC, however, said petrol supply was increased from Sunday. The state-owned oil monopoly distributed 300 kl of petrol to Kathmandu pumps on Monday. “Petrol supply is expected to normalise from Wednesday,” said Ghimire.

This is the second time in a month that the Capital is facing fuel shortage, particularly petrol. Three weeks ago, NOC had curtailed petroleum supply, citing non-payment of dues to its sole supplier IOC.

Published: 20-05-2014 10:48

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