NOC invites global tender for fuel supply
The Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) on Friday invited bids from interested firms to supply petroleum products in a bid to ease fuel crisis ahead of the country’s biggest festivals—Dashain and Tihar.
The state-owned oil monopoly has given suppliers three days to submit their letter of intent regarding import of fuel from any country through any medium on a daily basis for at least 15 days.
The NOC move follows a recent directive from the Ministry of Supplies to the state-owned utility to involve other suppliers to import fuel due to India’s “unofficial blockade” of key border points amid protests from Madhesi parties over the new constitution.
The NOC has initiated the short-term solution to ease distribution of fuel for the
festive season when the Kathmandu valley sees a mass departure of people to celebrate to their hometowns.
Thousands of cargo trucks, including oil tankers, have been stranded at various border points in India, leaving the people and country’s economy in an extremely difficult situation.
Although the NOC did not receive any applications on the opening day, its spokesperson Deepak Baral expects to receive some by the end of the deadline. “The third party involvement in supply is only a temporary measure to ease the current crisis,” he said.
The corporation has asked the interested firms to supply 200 kilolitres each of diesel, kerosene and aviation fuel, and 100kl of petrol and 100 metric tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas.
Also on Thursday, the NOC revised fuel quota for vehicles in the Valley aimed at facilitating buses operating on
long routes in view of the Dashain rush. The new quota system will come into effect from Friday.
The NOC decided to cut the quota to buses to 20 litres every alternate day from
the current quota of 30
litres. Shiva Prasad Tripathi, under-secretary at the Commerce Ministry, said mini buses and micro buses
will now get 15 and 10 litres respectively.
According to Tripathi, the long-distance buses will be provided with adequate quantity of fuel beginning on Tuesday (Ghatasthapana)—the first day of Dashain. “The government will also remove the odd-even system for these buses during the festival period. Besides, the government might cut down on fuel supply to other vehicles,” he said.
In view of the expectant Dashain rush, the government is likely to offer “one day fuel distribution” to the private vehicles on Saturday.
NOC spokesperson Baral said the two-wheelers will be provided 5 litres of fuel while four-wheelers will get 10 litres on the day.
A total of 28 tankers loaded with petroleum products entered Nepal on Thursday. According to Nepal Oil Corporation, 19 tankers and a bullet of cooking gas entered Nepal through the Rani customs point in Biratnagar.