Amlekhgunj oil pipeline named priority projectThe government has labelled the proposed Nepal-India cross-border oil pipeline a national priority project, heightening expectations that the long-delayed scheme will be speeded up.
The government has labelled the proposed Nepal-India cross-border oil pipeline a national priority project, heightening expectations that the long-delayed scheme will be speeded up.
Supplies Secretary Prem Kumar Rai said the National Planning Commission (NPC) gave the green signal to consider the project a national priority two weeks ago.
“The recognition will simplify initial tasks like land acquisition, shifting electricity transmission poles and chopping down trees inside Bara-Parsa National Park which fall along the pipeline’s route,” he said.
An estimated 33.6 acres of land will be required for the project. The government needs to cut down 25,000 trees and shift 2,100 electricity poles. Likewise, nearly 4,000 settlements built by encroaching on government land need to be cleared.
Rai said they were working to obtain permission from the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation to take the pipeline through forests. The Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport has given the go-ahead to use the side of the Amlekhgunj-Pathlaiya highway to lay the pipeline.
“We have received permission to use up to 13.5 metres on either side of the highway where a green belt has been planned to be built,” said Rai. The Supplies Ministry has started preparing an environmental impact assessment of the project, he added.
The Supplies Ministry has formed three committees to ensure that work progresses smoothly. “The central level committee will help coordination at the ministry and government levels while two local committees, one each at Bara and Parsa districts, will facilitate the related work at the site,” Rai said.
The local committees include representatives from the Land Revenue Office, Nepal Police, Nepal Electricity Authority, municipalities, Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) and Bara-Parsa National Park.
The project was first proposed in 1995. The scheme gained momentum after the two governments signed an agreement on August 25, 2015. Although construction was supposed to start this month, the pace of work has slowed in recent days.
Rai blamed the hold-up on Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) not sending a detailed engineering survey report to NOC. NOC and IOC jointly conducted the survey three months ago.
According to NOC officials, they have completed all the tasks related to the detailed engineering survey. Recently, NOC sent a world geographic system 1984 report, a global reference system for geospatial information, to IOC.
NOC Spokesperson Bhanubhakta Khanal said they were waiting for the final survey report. “As soon as we receive the report, we will invite bids for the project’s construction.”