Officials from Nepal and India held talks with the Nepal-India Petroleum Pipeline Project Monitoring Committee regarding various issues that Nepal needed to sort out for the project to be implemented.
The Nepali team comprised officials from Nepal Oil Corporation and was led by Uttam Nagila, joint secretary at the Ministry of Supply, while the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) team was led by Suvrata Ganguly, IOC general manager for pipeline.
The monitoring committee has been set up as a single-window mechanism to facilitate the project implementation.
IOC has sought approval from the Department of Roads to lay the pipeline across the Raxaul-Amlekhgunj road, security of the equipment and its labourers, and tax exemptions on equipment and materials that are required to construct the pipeline. It has also sought the process of land acquisition to be expedited for the expansion of the Amlekhgunj Depot, informed Mukunda Ghimire, spokesperson for NOC.
The IOC team arrived in Kathmandu yesterday via Amlekhgunj and they have conducted the survey of the project as well.
IOC will call and award the bid to the contractor very soon and the cross-border pipeline project, which also includes re-engineering of Amlekhgunj Depot, is going to be constructed at a total cost of INR 2.75 billion within 30 months of the construction works being started. After that, it will be the lifeline for importing petroleum products from India.
As per the preliminary plan, the pipeline will be laid along the Raxaul-Amlekhgunj road. Apart from this, the government needs to acquire 30 hectares of land near Amlekhgunj Depot for its expansion. Out of the 41-km pipeline, about 39 km would lie within Nepal.
The proposed pipeline is expected to save Rs 700 million per annum in transporting fuel from Raxaul to Amlekhgunj. Subsequently, it will save travel time for tankers, not to mention that it will minimise pilferage. On the other hand, construction of the pipeline will no longer require tankers to transport fuel across the border, which in turn is also expected to ease congestion at Raxaul-Birgunj customs point and smoothen the import of other goods through India.