Oil shortage hits Valleyites hard, again

Oil shortage hits Valleyites hard, again

Valley petrol pumps have again witnessed long queues due to state oil monopoly's failure in supplying the petroleum products smoothly. Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) claimed that it has to pay Rs 5.18 billion (IC Rs 3.24 billion) to Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) in outstanding dues, which has made the IOC reduce the supplies to Nepal. Neither the NOC has running capital nor has the government ready to lend it making the smooth supply of petroleum products a distant dream for the people. Though the NOC claims that it is supplying fuel from its stock, the stock seems depleting as the sole supplier has reduced supply by 40 per cent. According to the agreement between NOC and IOC, the sole supplier can slash supply fuel, if the NOC delays payment by a month. Last time in February, the NOC promised to pay 10.5 per cent interest – in the outstanding dues – that made IOC relax supply. But the NOC has no running capital to pay dues or price for regular supply, according to spokesperson of NOC Mukunda Ghimire. Currently, the NOC is suffering Rs 728.7 million monthly loss, according to the latest rates. "The NOC has been unable to pay its due also because of the huge loss in the cooking gas," he said, adding that NOC is in incurring huge loss in a cylinder of LPG. Earlier NOC had – on March 14 – jacked up the price of petrol by Rs 10 per liter and diesel, kerosene and Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) by Rs 6 per liter each to make up for the loss. However, the protest from students and consumer rights groups made the NOC to roll back half of the increment and it reduced price of petrol and diesel by Rs 5.5 and Rs 3.5 per liter to cool down the protest. NOC already owes Rs 34.16 billion to different financial institutions and the government. The parliament has also formed a committee to study the petroleum sector and recommend pricing mechanism later in March. The committee was asked to submit the report in a month. The 11-member parliamentary committee is supposed to recommend the government solution to perennial shortage of petroleum products. Valley alone concumes around 350,000 litres of petrol and 450,000 litres of diesel per day.
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