Government laxness delaying petroleum pipeline project
December 27, 2016 09:24 AM NPT
By: Dilip Poudel
KATHMANDU, Dec 27: The laxness of the government to clear houses, trees and electricity poles from the project area delayed the construction of Raxwal-Amlekhgunj Petroleum Pipeline.
While the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is all set to kick-start construction, the government has not cleared houses, trees and poles along the alignment to lay down pipes. Though the Ministries of Supplies (MoS) and Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) requested ministries three months ago to clear structures from the project area, nothing has happened in this direction.
Gopal Khadka, managing director of NOC, told Republica that IOC will start construction once the project site is cleared. “IOC is keen to start construction at the earliest,” he added.
Project documents show the pipeline will be connected to Birgunj via Amlekhgunj, Pathlaiya, Simara, Jitpur, Rampur Tokani, Parwanipur and Gandak. Around 4,000 houses and temporary shelters, 750 electricity poles and 13,100 trees have to be cleared to start construction of the 38-kilometer pipeline project.
Sushil Bhattarai, coordinator of the project, said that plan to start work on the Amlekhgunj- Birgunj section to begin with. “Pipes will be laid down six meters away from the road,” Bhattarai said, adding that the Department of Roads will clear the section as soon as possible.
NOC has formed a coordination committee led by the CDO of Parsa to resolve disputes at the local level, according to NOC Spokesperson Bhanubhakta Khanal. He said IOC will begin work once all the structures and trees, among others, are removed from the project area.
According to Khanal, IOC has already started work in the Indian side.
The project is estimated to cost Rs 4.40 billion. India will invest Rs 3.20 billion while Nepal will chip in Rs 1.20 billion.
Once the project is completed, petrol, diesel and kerosene will come directly to Amlekhgunj via the pipeline. The project will save Nepal an estimated Rs 2 billion annually. Officials say 3,000 kiloliters of petroleum products can be brought to Amlekhgunj at a time.
Nepal imports around 1.3 million kiloliters of petroleum products annually through 1,500 tankers.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expressed commitment to build the pipeline during his visit to Nepal in July, 2014. As per the commitment, Nepal and India signed an agreement in August, 2014 for building the pipeline.