Minister for Commerce and Supplies Sunil Bahadur Thapa on Tuesday directed Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) to maintain smooth supplies of gasoline and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as many parts of the country continued to suffer shortages.
Fuel has been in short supply for the last few days while the state-owned oil monopoly and its dealers have been pointing at each other for the scarcity.
Minister Thapa said he had instructed NOC to keep petrol and diesel flowing in adequate quantities by procuring them from other sources besides the Raxaul depot if necessary. “I have asked NOC to bring petroleum products for the Kathmandu valley without affecting supplies in the Western region,” he added.
The valley and many parts of the country have been low on fuel for the last few days, which according to NOC, is due to the maintenance work being done at the Barauni depot of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), its sole supplier. The repairs have been going on for a month.
According to the Commerce Ministry, the Barauni depot has been operating at half its capacity. Thapa said the ministry had requested IOC through NOC to issue as much fuel as possible.
After receiving the minister’s instruction, NOC started bringing fuel from its Bhairahawa depot. NOC Managing Director Chandika Prasad Bhatta said they diverted 35 tankers coming from Betalpur, India to the valley on Tuesday to ease the shortage.
The valley’s daily gasoline requirement amounts to 350 kilolitres of petrol and 500 kilolitres of diesel. According to NOC, demand swells by 100 kilolitres of both the products during the winter season.
Bhatta said that they distributed gasoline from the Thankot depot on Tuesday too even though it was a public holiday considering the severe situation. “However, very few tankers came to collect fuel on that day,” he said.
NOC Spokesperson Mukunda Ghimire said the gasoline shortage would ease within the next few days. “A shipment of 100 kilolitres of petrol and 600 kilolitres of diesel will be arriving in the valley from Bhairahawa while another 500 kilolitres of petrol and 600 kilolitres of diesel are being loaded at IOC’s Raxaul depot for transport to Kathmandu,” he said.
Similarly, the Commerce Ministry has moved to end the LPG shortage. According to Ghimire, 50 bullets of LPG left for Nepal from the Barauni and Haldiya depots of IOC on Monday. Each bullet contains around 17 tonnes of LPG.
“NOC imported a similar quantity of LPG on Tuesday too,” Ghimire said. He added that the LPG supply could ease within the next few days. “The LPG dispatched from IOC’s depots will arrive by Thursday.”