Cases of oil theft on rise in eastern NepalTheft of petroleum products has continued unabated in the eastern part of the country, as driver of yet another oil tanker was found selling diesel loaded from Biratnagar depot of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) in India.
Theft of petroleum products has continued unabated in the eastern part of the country, as driver of yet another oil tanker was found selling diesel loaded from Biratnagar depot of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) in India.
The oil tanker had left NOC’s Biratnagar depot with 20,000 litres of diesel. The tanker was supposed to deliver the fuel to five gasoline stations in Sunsari. But the driver took the tanker laden with diesel to India and sold the fuel there, NOC sources said.
Lately, more and more drivers of oil tankers are selling fuel meant for Nepali market in India, where per litre of diesel costs Rs26 more than in Nepal and per litre of petrol costs Rs21 more than here.
Earlier, the driver of a tanker with registration number Na 2 Kha 4352, which was supposed to deliver 20,000 litres of fuel to five gasoline stations in Sunsari, had fled after supplying 12,000 litres of diesel to three gasoline stations.
The driver had later sold 8,000 litres of diesel in India. A similar incident occurred around two months ago when Krishna Yadav, the driver of an oil tanker with registration number Na 4 Kha 8733, illegally sold 16,000 litres of diesel in India.
“We are investigating the matter,” said Bhanubhakta Khanal, head of the regional depot of NOC in Biratnagar.
Although Nepal fully relies on India to get its supply of petroleum products, retail prices in the two countries differ, because Indian Oil Corporation sells fuel to NOC at special wholesale rates.
NOC, according to Khanal, had reduced fuel supply to gasoline stations located near Nepal-India border point to curb smuggling of diesel and petrol to India. NOC is currently supplying 8,000 litres of diesel per day to fuel pumps located near Nepal-India border point, down from 12,000 litres per day in the past.
“But the involvement of tanker drivers in oil theft has complicated problems,” he said. “If this continues, we will have no option but to recommend concerned authorities to annul the registration of tankers involved in unscrupulous behaviour.”
Officials of NOC said that cases of tanker drivers illegally selling gasoline meant for Nepali market in India are on the rise.
Previously, two tankers, on the way to Nepal from oil depot in India, had illegally sold 40,000 litres of diesel in India, according to the state-owned oil distributor. Drivers of tankers with registration numbers Na 4 Kha 9410 and Na 4 Kha 3937 had tried to cover up their misdeeds by stating the vehicles had met with accidents.
A profit of around Rs600,000 can be generated if each fuel tanker bound for Nepal sells diesel in India and covers the shortfall by purchasing the fuel in Nepal, according to NOC sources.