NOC urges consumers not to go after fuel shortage rumoursNepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has urged consumers not to believe rumours about shortage of petroleum products, stating there has been no obstruction in transportation of fuel from border points.
Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has urged consumers not to believe rumours about shortage of petroleum products, stating there has been no obstruction in transportation of fuel from border points.
The petroleum monopoly’s call comes at a time when the Kathmandu Valley is witnessing panic buying of petrol and diesel, as vehicle owners have started rushing to gasoline stations following outbursts of demonstrations in different parts of the country to protest the government’s move to amend the constitution.
“The demand for petrol and diesel has surged in the last few days as many motorists have started purchasing more fuel than needed fearing short supply of petroleum products,” NOC Spokesperson Bhanubhakta Khanal said. “But consumers need not worry because the ongoing protests have not disrupted supply of petroleum products.”
As panic buying started, NOC on Ministry of Supplies’ direction has also initiated the process of framing a work plan to ensure smooth supply of petroleum products in case ongoing demonstrations gather momentum, leading to supply disruption, Khanal added.
According to NOC, the demand for diesel has surged to up to 1,500 kilolitres per day compared with normal demand of 700-800 kl per day. “Similarly, the demand for petrol has jumped almost three-fold,” Khanal said. The normal day demand for petrol, as per the government enterprise, stands at 400-450 kl in the Valley. A number of Valley-based petrol pumps have lately started putting up signboards of ‘No Diesel’ on their premises, as consumers started buying more fuel than needed. Also, vehicles have started queuing up at gasoline stations to fetch petrol.
Khanal suspected that many motorists could have started hoarding petrol due to fear of short supply in the coming days. Petroleum dealers, however, blamed NOC for creating this situation.
Nepal Petroleum Dealers’ Association President Lilendra Prasad Pradhan said reduction in supply of petroleum products by NOC had led to this situation. As per the association, NOC sells petroleum products for an average of 5 days a week. “Most of the time, NOC does not distribute petroleum products on Saturd-ay and other public holidays,” Pradhan said. “NOC should sell at least 900 kl of diesel and 600 kl of petrol daily to meet the market demand if it wishes to give continuity to the practice of supplying fuel for 5 days a week.”
NOC, on the other hand, has suspected kike in unauthorised exports of diesel for the shortage. “As diesel is cheaper in Nepal by almost Rs20 per litre compared to the price in India, a large quantity of diesel is reportedly being smuggled to India,” Khanal said, adding, “We have been informed that many Indian vehicles that enter Nepal return back only after refilling their tanks here.”
Meanwhile, NOC said it has ramped up market monitoring to check possible manipulation by petrol pumps and petroleum tankers. Lately, NOC has deployed a team to keep an eye on activities of tankers, as they have been suspected of not offloading the entire fuel brought from India at Thankot depot, Khanal said.