IOC resumes petroleum supply

IOC resumes petroleum supply

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), responding positively to the government’s request, resumed normal supply of petroleum products from Friday.

“India has said it would not curtail supply and would issue us with the quantity we demand,” said Commerce Minister Hridayesh Tripathy. “We talked with all the Indian officials concerned, and have started receiving normal supply from Friday,” he told the Post.

The sole Indian supplier was curtailing supply by 20 percent every month since the last three months, according to NOC officials. It sparked a petrol shortage in Kath-mandu Valley on Thursday.

The short supply continued Friday as NOC did not distribute petrol from its Thankot depot due to lack of sufficient stocks.

Some half-a-dozen tankers that ferried petrol from the Amlekhgunj depot helped to ease the crisis, said Linendra Shrestha, executive member of Nepal Petroleum Dealers’ Association (NPDA).

“However, most of the petroleum dealers continued to operate today with ‘no-petrol’ tags at their refilling stations,” he said. Supplies of diesel and kerosene are normal.

Meanwhile, issuing a statement, the Indian embassy in Kathmandu said that IOC has not curtailed the supply to Nepal. Contrary to what NOC’s managing director Bishwa Nath Goyal told the Post and parliamentarians at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the statement says IOC increased supply by more than 27 percent on a month-to-month basis this month.

Goyal, presenting NOC’s financial position at the PAC Thursday, said that India has reduced the quantity of petroleum supply, which could jeopardize the supply situation. He also said that NOC has no stock of petrol at the Thankot depot to keep up further supply.

Javed Ashraff, economic consul at the embassy, told the Post that the NOC chief had misled the media and presented a wrong report at the PAC.

He said IOC was not exerting pressure of any sort on NOC for the earliest payment of dues. Minister Tripathy, however, denied that.

“India has made it clear that it will not gear up supply unless we start settling outstanding dues, which is over Rs 9 billion (Indian Rs 5.65 billion),” Goyal also said at the PAC while requesting the government to release funds for payment of the dues. The embassy statement adds that NOC needs to settle its outstanding dues within a reasonable timeframe and on terms that do not impose a financial burden on IOC.

Goyal on Friday informed the Post that he has requested the customs and IOC to continue supply on Saturday as well to deal with the shortage.

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