Govt to depute inspection teams at small customsThe Ministry of Supplies has said it will mobilise monitoring teams at a number of small customs points, which are reportedly being used as alternative routes to smuggle diesel to India.
The Ministry of Supplies has said it will mobilise monitoring teams at a number of small customs points, which are reportedly being used as alternative routes to smuggle diesel to India.
The ministry has suspected that traders have switched to small customs points after the government intensified checks of fuel tankers at major Nepal-India crossings and at Nagdhunga, the main entry/exit point to the Kathmandu Valley.
Both the ministry and Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) have claimed the government’s move has helped control diesel smuggling in the past three days.
Netra Kafle, chief of NOC’s Thankot depot, said the demand for diesel in the Kathmandu Valley has dropped significantly. “The demand has come down to 1000 kl from over 1,500 kl,” he said.
According to the ministry, people involved in the illegal trade are now transporting diesel using small vehicles such as tractors via small customs points in Parsa, Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj, Krishna Nagar, Jhapa, Biratnagar, Birgunj and Kanchanpur.
Supplies Minister Deepak Bohara said on Wednesday the government will mobilise inspection teams at the locations from Thursday. “A taskforce formed at the ministry will coordinate with district-based teams, including Chief District Officers and representatives from NOC, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force,” he said.
The ministry on Sunday had formed the five-member taskforce led by Spokesperson Surya Prasad Shrestha for monitoring tankers. Deputy Inspector General of Nepal Police Hemanta Pal, Deputy Inspector General of Armed Police Force Subodh Adhikari, NOC’s Director Sitaram Pokharel and an under-secretary from Department of Supply Management are other members of the taskforce.
Bohara said the inspection teams will also carry out checks of suspected petrol pumps. “The teams will assess invoices issued by the pumps to purchasers of large quantity of diesel,” said Bohara.
The ministry had first suspected diesel smuggling following the diesel shortage seen in the Valley despite smooth supply. Given diesel is cheaper in India by Rs20 per litre than in Nepal, the ministry suspects the fuel imported to Nepal is being smuggled back to India by petroleum transporters in collusion with NOC officials and fuel pumps.