27 months on, Nepal fails to take petroleum pipeline project ahead

Representational image: Petroleum pipeline

Kathmandu, November 8

It has been nearly 27 months since Nepal and India signed an agreement to construct a cross-border petroleum pipeline with a target to complete the task in next 30 months. However, the progress made during these two years and three months is just nominal.

Then Minister for Supplies Sunil Bahadur Thapa and Indian Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan had signed agreement in India on August 24, 2015. Minister Thapa had claimed that the project would be completed before the deadline.

But, the progress Nepal government made so far for the project is just limited to a number of discussions only.

Nepal Oil Corporation spokesperson Birendra Goit says the actual construction work is yet to begin and just a notice for tenders has been issued for the task. Likewise, the Indian Oil Corporation has also just purchased pipes for the work, according to him.

Goit says the NOC is currently facilitating the tax exemption process for the import of pipes and other necessary equipment. The construction work will begin only after that.

Officials involved in the project say site clearance has been the most challenging aspect of the project. Preliminary estimates have found that around 25,000 trees should be cut down whereas around 4,135 houses should be demolished, according to the NOC.

Acquiring land covered by roads and managing wires and cables of electricity and telephones have also been challenges for the project. The NOC to yet to settle these issues.

Goit says the NOC has established an office in Simara of Bara to expedite the project. Meanwhile, an IOC team is visiting Nepal to learn about activities being carried out for the project, according to the spokesperson.

The team is scheduled to reach Kathmandu on Thursday.

“The team’s visit will trigger intensive bilateral discussions for the project,” Goit says, “The discussions will give us a clear guideline for the project so that we can accelerate.”

Published on November 8th, Wednesday, 2017 10:09 AM

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