-  Tuesday 19 January 2021

Terai unrest worsens petrol shortage

 -  The Kathmandu Post

KATHMANDU, Jan 30 - Shortage of petroleum products has hit the eastern and central region including Kathmandu Valley, as the protracted Terai unrest affected the transportation of fuel.
“The stock at Amlekhgunj depot is rapidly approaching zero level, particularly in the case of petrol,” said an NOC official, who added that the corporation has tightened supply from Thankot depot, as officials are not sure when normal supply will resume.

On Monday, the corporation distributed 84,000 liters of petrol, 60,000 liters of diesel and 48,000 liters of kerosene from Thankot depot. It supplied additional 12,000 liters of petrol and diesel each from Amlekhgunj depot for Kathmandu Valley.

The supply of petrol made on the day, however, was just half the normal daily demand. Overall supply of petroleum products was also just one-fourth of the normal daily consumption. The NOC had accordingly curtailed supplies on Sunday and Friday.

Petrol distributed today reached just 20 refilling stations, stated a member of Nepal Petroleum Dealers Association (NPDA). Long queues of vehicles were visible at those dispensing pumps. Other dealers, meanwhile, had hung 'no petrol' signs. Dealers, however, said that they have plentiful stock of diesel as not much vehicles have plied out of Kathmandu.

As severe fuel crisis looms in the Valley, the eastern region of the country is already suffering from severe fuel crisis, as stocks at Biratnagar and Janakpur depots of NOC have dried out.

“The crisis in the eastern region is already full-blown,” said Shiva Prasad Ghimire, president of Nepal Petroleum Dealers Association (NPDA).

Talking to the Post over the phone from Biratnagar, Ghimire said that petroleum dealers have not received any products from NOC for the last 10 days, and all distributing stations have remained closed.

“Since people are more concerned over the ongoing stir in Terai, they have not reacted to the fuel shortage. But, panic will hit as soon as the stir ends,” said he.

In the central Terai and inner Terai, NOC was managing supplies through Amlekhgunj depot till last week. But the situation has worsened over the last few days, as the corporation's priority has been to quench the thirst of Kathmandu Valley, said a government source.

Moreover, the stock at Amlekhgunj depot deteriorated earlier than expected because NOC diverted major chunk of imports to the Valley to maintain stock at the Thankot depot.

But if bandas and tension in Terai continues for the next few days, the much-replenished stock at Thankot depot will also not help, noted officials.

Supply situation of petroleum products in western regions of the country are normal. According to officials, NOC has maintained supplies in Pokhara, Butwal and other western cities through Bhairahawa depot.

Likewise, mid-western and far-western regions are also getting enough supply of oil, as the stir has not affected those regions, officials stated.

The Kathmandu Post

Other articles by reporter The Kathmandu Post

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