Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has moved to set up representative offices at three depots of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) in Raxaul, Barauni and Haldiya in a bid to enhance coordination so that tankers transporting gasoline to Nepal can increase their loads.
Spokesperson for NOC Mukunda Ghimire said they had started an organisation and management survey to increase the staff strength at the proposed offices.
According to him, the study report will be presented to the NOC board in the first week of June. “If the board gives the go-ahead, we will be able to set up offices at these three locations,” he said.
Ghimire said they speeded up efforts after finding IOC agreeable to the proposal to set up offices at its depots. “IOC is also positive on the issue realising that the offices could help to solve problems at the grassroots level that have been preventing NOC tankers from receiving loads at IOC depots.”
IOC has expressed willingness to boost gasoline supplies to Nepal after India lifted the five-month-long trade embargo. Despite IOC’s commitment, NOC has not been able to receive the promised quantities of fuel due to the negligence of IOC officials or tanker drivers and minor technical problems. IOC’s depots in Raxaul, Barauni and Haldiya are NOC’s chief import sources. The state-owned company obtains 60 percent of its total shipments from Raxaul while the Barauni refinery supplies both oil and cooking gas. Haldiya is one of the major sources for cooking gas.
Last month, IOC slashed deliveries from Barauni citing maintenance at one of its production plants. The Indian supplier has also cut cooking gas supplies giving a similar reason. In addition, the carelessness of tanker drivers and IOC officials at the depots has resulted in irregular supplies to Nepal, leading to instant queues forming in front of gasoline stations.
At present, NOC has been settling such issues by sending its officials to IOC’s depots or calling them on the telephone. “Whenever any problem arises, NOC officials based in the bordering areas have to rush to IOC’s depots to sort things out,” said Ghimire. “After NOC sets up offices at the depots, it will save a lot of time and money,” he added.
Source: The Kathmandu Post